Technology & Science

In final lap, athlete’s brain tricks body

LONDON : A new scientific survey has suggested an athlete’s ability to push himself to the limit is created by the brain’s need to win.

Dr Jo Corbett, senior lecturer in applied exercise physiology at the University of Portsmouth, has found the brain of an exhausted athlete can tap into the body’s anaerobic energy sources to fuel that final push to victory.

In his study, sportsmen racing against someone else managed to find an extra burst of energy that increased their performance by 1.7 per cent.

“Most sportspeople know they perform harder when they are competing but until now we didn’t know precisely why,” The Scotsman quoted Dr Corbett as saying.

“Whenever you do exercise, there’s usually a point which holds you back because you don’t want to do yourself irreparable damage. “But when racing someone head-to-head, the athlete’s brain can manipulate this signal and keep on going,” he stated.

Out of 14 cyclists participating in the study, 12 were significantly faster in the final race, when they believed they were competing against an opponent.

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