Translating Fatigue to Human Performance


    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

Despite flourishing interest in the topic of fatigue—as indicated by the many presentations on fatigue at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine—surprisingly little is known about its effect on human performance. There are two main reasons for this dilemma: 1) the inability of current terminology to accommodate the scope of the conditions ascribed to fatigue, and 2) a paucity of validated experimental models. In contrast to current practice, a case is made for a unified definition of fatigue to facilitate its management in health and disease. On the basis of the classic two-domain concept of Mosso, fatigue is defined as a disabling symptom in which physical and cognitive function is limited by interactions between performance fatigability and perceived fatigability. As a symptom, fatigue can only be measured by self-report, quantified as either a trait characteristic or a state variable. One consequence of such a definition is that the word fatigue should not be preceded by an adjective (e.g., central, mental, muscle, peripheral, and supraspinal) to suggest the locus of the changes responsible for an observed level of fatigue. Rather, mechanistic studies should be performed with validated experimental models to identify the changes responsible for the reported fatigue. As indicated by three examples (walking endurance in old adults, time trials by endurance athletes, and fatigue in persons with multiple sclerosis) discussed in the review, however, it has proven challenging to develop valid experimental models of fatigue. The proposed framework provides a foundation to address the many gaps in knowledge of how laboratory measures of fatigue and fatigability affect real-world performance.

    loading  Loading Related Articles