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Athletes with Meditation Experience Counteract the Detrimental Effect of Mental Fatigue on Endurance Performance and Neurocognitive Functions
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  • Jui-Ti Nien,
  • Nai-Chi Chen,
  • Ying-Hwa Kee,
  • Chih-Han Wu,
  • Jaewoong Ahn,
  • Lin Chi,
  • Yu-Kai Chang
Jui-Ti Nien
National Taiwan Normal University
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Nai-Chi Chen
National Taiwan Normal University
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Ying-Hwa Kee
Nanyang Technological University
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Chih-Han Wu
National Central University
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Jaewoong Ahn
Jeonbuk National University
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Lin Chi
Minnan Normal University
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Yu-Kai Chang
National Taiwan Normal University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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The current study aimed to examine whether athletes with meditation experience better counteract decline in endurance performance and inhibitory control-relevant neurocognitive functions caused by mental fatigue compared to athletes without meditation experience. Twenty-four athletes with meditation experience (AM) and twenty-five athletes without meditation experience (ANM) were recruited and underwent either a 30-min 100% incongruent Stroop test in mental fatigue condition (MF) or 30-min 100% congruent Stroop test in control condition (CON) in a randomized-counterbalanced order. Subsequently, inhibitory control-relevant neurocognitive functions were assessed using the Flanker task and event-related potentials, followed by endurance performance evaluation using treadmill-based task. Visual analogue scale was used to evaluate perceived mental fatigue (VAS-MF) before (T1), after Stroop test (T2) and after Flanker task (T3), and then VAS for motivation (VAS-M) was also used to evaluate motivation in Flanker task and endurance performance. Results indicated that participants in the MF reported higher VAS-MF score at T2 (p = .001) and T3 (p < .001), and shorter time to exhaustion (p < .001), lower motivation (p = .040) in endurance task, and lower accuracy (p < .001) and smaller N2 amplitude (p = .007) in Flanker task, compared to the CON. Notably, these impairments were more pronounced in ANM, compared to AM. These findings underscore the potential benefits of meditation experience as a countermeasure to mitigate the negative effects of mental fatigue on endurance performance and inhibitory control.