Brain stimulation is an effective way to improve endurance in athletes,
according to a research by the University of Kent.
The findings are expected to advance the understanding of the brain's role
in endurance exercise, how it can alter the physical limits of performance in
healthy people and add further evidence to the debate on the use of legal methods
to enhance performance in competition.
‘Transcranial direct current stimulation or tDCS over the scalp increases the activity of the area in the brain associated with muscle contraction, making exercise less forceful.’
The research, which was conducted by Dr Lex Mauger and colleagues at Kent's
School of Sport and Exercise Sciences (SSES), set out to investigate how
endurance limits are a matter for the mind as well as the body.
By testing cycling time to task failure (TTF) in a group of 12 active
participants in a placebo controlled study, Dr Mauger discovered that
stimulating the brain by passing a mild electrical current
(transcranial direct current stimulation or tDCS) over the scalp to stimulate it
increased the activity of the area associated with muscle
. This decreased perception of effort and increased the
length of time participants could cycle for.
The team explained this is because the exercise felt less effortful
following stimulation. tDCS has been used to enhance endurance performance but
how it achieved this was previously unknown and this study has helped identify