Overtraining could lead to brain burn-out: study - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Overtraining could lead to brain burn-out: study

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(WSIL) -- Too much exercise could keep you from making good choices according to a new study.

The study in the journal 'Current Biology' suggests that severely overworking your body might interfere with your ability to delay self-gratification.

It found that the brain's capacity for exertion is limited so over-exercising the body could lead to brain burn-out.

A group of elite endurance athletes were asked to over-train for three out of nine weeks. Researchers then compared them to a group who had been training normally.

The over-worked athletes didn't do as well as their counterparts on a cycling test. And MRI scans showed more fatigue in the cognitive control part of the brain.

The findings show a link between over-exertion and the inability to resist the temptation of immediate gratification.

Athletes were asked if they'd prefer ten dollars now or fifty dollars in six months. Those who over-trained were more likely to take the ten dollars now.

But experts point out the study only looks at endurance athletes -- not regular people.

Prior research shows about 4-5 hours of exercise each week can have positive affects on cognitive function, meaning the "average Joe" shouldn't worry about brain burn-out.

CNN contributed to this report.

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