Tolerance to static/monotonous physical load might be enhanced by mental activation. We plan to publish our earlier results, indicating that diverting mental activity in rest pauses during monotonous work might attenuate development of muscle fatigue. Performance of relatively difficult tasks (serial memory task, selective attention task, odd-ball paradigm) in rest pauses associated with slowing of subjective fatigue rating during simple physical movements involving arm/hand. Á protective effect was found in repetitive and static muscle loads.
We plan to continue investigations in this direction by using more complicated models of physical work including not only monotonous but more demanding patterns of activity in hand/arm muscles. That will provide broader spectrum of fatigue conditions, including fast developed fatigue effects as well as long-lasted, sustained levels. Different types of mental activity will help to clarify possible central mechanisms of diverting activity. It is also of interest to investigate how different combinations of physical and mental loads influence on cognitive performance.