Neurophysiological correlates in peak performance

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Although a number of approaches exist to study the effects of exercise on brain cortical activity, the accessibility of brain cortical function during exercise is limited. As such, it is not clear to what extent changes in exercise intensity, especially high intensities in peak performance, influence brain cortical activity. Furthermore, due to the difficulty in using brain-imaging methods during complex whole-body movements like cycling, it is unclear to what extent the activity in specific brain areas is altered with incremental exercise intensity over time. Low distribution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA) allows for localized brain activity to be determined with conventional electroencephalography (EEG). Using LORETA in combination with a newly developed active EEG system this study aimed to localize electro cortical changes during an incremental cycle test up to maximal effort.
26 subjects aged 20 to 32 years performed a maximal incremental cycle test starting at 50W and increasing by 50W every five minutes until subjective exhaustion. EEG activity was recorded before and after exercise as well as during the 4th minute of each exercise stage while the subjects’ eyes remained closed. Until the ultimate stage the analysis of EEG activity was possible. Spatial changes in current density were localized by LORETA to three regions of interest; the primary motor cortex (M1), primary sensory cortex (S1) and prefrontal cortex (PFC), and were expressed relative to current density within the local lobe.
It was demonstrated that the relative current density of the M1 was intensified with increasing exercise intensity, whereas activity of the S1 and that of the PFC were not altered with exercise.
The results indicate that the combined active EEG/LORETA method allows for the recording of brain cortical activity during complex movements and incremental exercise. Furthermore, the M1 seems to be responsible for a higher force output with incremental exercise intensity during a whole-body movement, like cycling, whereas the S1 and the PFC seem not to be directly involved in this regulation. To confirm that this holds true for other complex movements and subjects, for example expert or preferred cyclists, further studies are planned.
LN of current density of the primary motor (M1) and the prefrontal cortex (PFC) relative to the local frontal lobe and of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) relative to the local parietal lobe prior (pre), after (post) and during the 4th minute of the last four stages (4th last, 3rd last, 2nd last and last) of an incremental bike exercise test until subjective exhaustion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of abstract
Number of pages1
Publication date26.02.2011
Publication statusPublished - 26.02.2011
EventInternational Sport Sciences Symposium - Tokio, Japan
Duration: 26.02.2011 → …
Conference number: 4

ID: 1966970

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