Have you ever had a long day at work, filled with problem-solving and meetings, then felt so tired that you can’t work out? Zoom fatigue is a prime example of the kind of mental strain that the modern workplace causes.
Typically, the answer for fatigue from work is physical fatigue (exercise). Sitting all day is bad for your body and mind, but a long day of work can leave you feeling exhausted.
Mental fatigue isn’t like physical fatigue in that your brain gets sore when you work too much, but something called cognitive fatigue impacts your workouts.
A 2020 study published in Sports Medicine found that cognitive fatigue was detrimental to physical performance. The researchers synthesized 73 studies that looked at cognitive fatigue and exercise performance. In the studies, participants in the experimental group went through mentally demanding tests before their workout.
Overall, the studies showed that fatiguing your mind before a workout hurts performance. This was true for a variety of different types of exercise, including resistance training and aerobic workouts.
This research shows that a draining day at the office can absolutely hurt your workout. If you find that it’s a battle to drag yourself to the gym after work, you might want to try coming in the morning.
The irony is that exercise is typically used to alleviate the stress from work and constant focus. It’s possible that during periods of mental stress at work you should take it a little easier at the gym, rather than fighting that tired feeling.