When we have been physically active, we can experience fatigue afterwards – this is a no-brainer. In other words, it stands to reason that our muscles become weaker; we are tired and perhaps even irritable. However, mental activity can also have a big impact on our level of fatigue.
While physical fatigue and mental fatigue are two different states, they are interconnected. This is why we often feel physically exhausted and have difficulty performing physical tasks after worrying about something all day. We also now know that being physical and stressing our minds can make us feel exhausted quicker.
A study conducted at Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health showed that when we attempt mental and physical tasks at the same time, we trigger areas in our brain called the prefrontal cortex. This can cause our body to experience fatigue much sooner than if we were only taking part in physical activity.
Assistant professor, Ranjana Mehta, was leading the study and reported that there were lower blood oxygen levels in the prefrontal cortex following combined physical fatigue and mental fatigue compared to just physical fatigue conditions. She could see through examination of both muscle and brain function that taking part in complex mental tasks cause brain resources to divide, which may explain why physical fatigue then increases.
Most people face mental fatigue or physical fatigue by just overdoing it, but some people can have fatigue for reasons that are a little harder to pinpoint. Many biological and psychosocial factors could be the cause of someone’s fatigue. Below we explain seven different mechanism/modifiers of fatigue:
Fatigue is a common problem that shouldn’t set off any alarms. Most people know why they are fatigued, but if they experience unexplained exhaustion they should seek medical attention. To avoid both mental fatigue and physical fatigue the best defense is to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, eat nutritious meals, and exercise regularly.
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