Stimulating the brain makes exercising the legs feel easier

November 1, 2016, University of Kent
Dr Lex Mauger working with BBC Horizon presenters. Credit: University of Kent

Research led by the University of Kent shows stimulation of the brain impacts on endurance exercise performance by decreasing perception of effort.

The study examined the effect of a technique called transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), a form of non-invasive brain stimulation, on the neuromuscular, physiological and perceptual responses to exhaustive leg exercise.

Researchers led by Dr Lex Mauger from Kent's School of Sport and Exercise Sciences found that tDCS delayed exhaustion of the by an average of 15% during an exercise task, and that this was likely caused by the participants feeling less effort during the exercise. However, tDCS elicited no significant on the neuromuscular response to exercise.

The performance effects of tDCS only occurred when the tDCS electrodes used to deliver the electrical current were positioned in a particular way. This study therefore provides important methodological guidance for the application of tDCS and provides further evidence that brain stimulation can improve endurance exercise performance, although the authors warn against the uncontrolled use of tDCS.

'Transcranial direct current stimulation improves isometric time to exhaustion of the knee extensors' (A. R. Mauger, L. Agnius, J. Hopker, S. M.Marcora, all University of Kent and B.Pageaux, Universite de Bourgogne) is published in the journal Neuroscience.

Explore further: Transcranial direct current stimulation beneficial in BED

More information: L. Angius et al, Transcranial direct current stimulation improves isometric time to exhaustion of the knee extensors, Neuroscience (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.10.028

Related Stories

Transcranial direct current stimulation beneficial in BED

May 17, 2016
(HealthDay)—Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is beneficial in binge-eating disorder (BED), with decreased cravings for sweets, savory proteins, and all foods, according to a study published online May 9 in ...

Transcranial direct current stimulation raises glutamate levels in humans

September 19, 2016
The notion that low levels of electrical stimulation applied to the scalp, barely enough to create a mild tingling sensation, could activate the brain is a relatively new and somewhat controversial idea. The technique, called ...

Commercial brain stimulation device impairs memory

August 17, 2015
People show impaired memory after receiving low intensity electrical stimulation administered to the frontal part of the brain by a commercial, freely available, device. Psychologists Laura Steenbergen and Lorenza Colzato, ...

Researchers study mild electrical stimulation for schizophrenia patients

September 29, 2016
A safe, noninvasive weak electrical current delivery called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) will be investigated for its potential in treating schizophrenia patients in a study led by Raymond Cho, M.D., M.Sc., ...

Researchers put brain training to the test

September 6, 2016
Researchers from The University of Queensland have shown for the first time that "brain training" for specific tasks can also improve broader brain performance, in findings with major implications for ageing brains.

New non-invasive brain stimulation technique for pain management

April 29, 2016
Last year, the National Institutes of Health in the United States stated that the overuse and dependence of drug treatment for chronic pain had created a 'silent epidemic' of distress and disability.

Recommended for you

In a break with dogma, myelin boosts neuron growth in spinal cord injuries

May 23, 2018
Recovery after severe spinal cord injury is notoriously fraught, with permanent paralysis often the result. In recent years, researchers have increasingly turned to stem cell-based therapies as a potential method for repairing ...

Memory molecule limits plasticity by calibrating calcium

May 23, 2018
The brain has an incredible capacity to support a lifetime of learning and memory. Each new experience fundamentally alters the connections between cells in the brain called synapses. To accommodate synaptic alterations, ...

New type of vertigo identified

May 23, 2018
Neurologists have identified a new type of vertigo with no known cause, according to a study published in the May 23, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Study confirms that men and women tend to adopt different navigation strategies

May 23, 2018
When navigating in a known environment, men prefer to take shortcuts to reach their destination more quickly, while women tend to use routes they know. This is according to Alexander Boone of UC Santa Barbara in the US who ...

Changes to specific MicroRNA involved in development of Lou Gehrig's disease

May 23, 2018
A new Tel Aviv University study identifies a previously unknown mechanism involved in the development of Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The research focuses on a specific microRNA whose levels ...

Mechanisms of harmful overhydration and brain swelling

May 22, 2018
We are all familiar with the drawbacks of dehydration, but we rarely hear about the harmful effects of overhydration. For one, excess fluid accumulation can lead to dangerously low sodium levels in the blood or hyponatremia—a ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.