The word fatigue is used in everyday living to describe a range of afflictions, varying from a general state of lethargy to a specific work-induced burning sensation within one's muscles. Physiologically, "fatigue" describes the inability to continue functioning at the level of one's normal abilities due to an increased perception of effort. Fatigue is ubiquitous in everyday life, but usually becomes particularly noticeable during heavy exercise. Two Main Types Of Fatigue
Central Fatigue The central component to
fatigue is generally described in terms of a
reduction in the neural drive or nerve-based
motor command to working muscles that
results in a decline in the force output. It
has been suggested that the reduced neural
drive during exercise may be a protective
mechanism to prevent organ failure if the
work was continued at the same intensity.
The exact mechanisms of central fatigue are
unknown although there has been a great deal
of interest in the role of serotonergic
- Peripheral Fatigue Fatigue during physical work is considered an inability for the body to supply sufficient energy to the contracting muscles to meet the increased energy demand. This is the most common case of physical fatigue--affecting a national average of 72% of adults in the work force in 2002. This causes contractile dysfunction that is manifested in the eventual reduction or lack of ability of a single muscle or local group of muscles to do work. The insufficiency of energy, i.e. sub-optimal aerobic metabolism, generally results in the accumulation of lactic acid and other acidic anaerobic metabolic by-products in the muscle, causing the stereotypical burning sensation of local muscle fatigue.
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