Mental fatigue can be caused by stress, anxiety or tiredness and can have an impact on your performance

For the first time, sport scientists have tested the effects of mental fatigue on sports performance to find out whether it really does affect athletes in a negative way.

Research published in the February issue of the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise looked at the impact of mental tiredness on tests of running, passing and shooting in footballers. It was discovered that subjects found the running test, in particular, more difficult and ran shorter distances when they were mentally fatigued.

They also performed less accurate passes and were slower and less accurate with their shots when they were mentally tired.

According to the scientists from the University of Technology in Sydney, mental fatigue can be caused by stress, anxiety or tiredness and was proven to impair several components of athletic performance.

To perform at their peak, all athletes should seek to minimise mental fatigue before competition, they concluded.

Let your brain track your training

Technology has revolutionised training methods and approaches in recent years, but a new study suggests the most sophisticated fitness tracker you possess is actually your own brain.

In a study using laboratory rats, scientists at Boston University discovered the animals possessed “odometer neurons” that meant their brains were attuned to the passage of time and distance while running without landmarks or scenery to help them assess the miles.

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