Fatigue due to a change of neuronal activity in the central nervous system. Unlike subjective fatigue, central inhibition occurs even when an athlete is strongly motivated. Athletes exhibit central inhibition when performing differently in nearly identical situations where biochemical factors are likely to be very similar. For example, in tests of fatigue, athletes tend to perform significantly less voluntary muscle contractions in stressful conditions (e.g. in an unfamiliar environment or when being observed by the experimenter) than in less stressful conditions. The reasons for central inhibition are unclear, but mental stress may change the distribution of blood in the brain, altering the supply of chemicals to neurones involved in physical activity.
Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.