Effectiveness of exercise

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Damien Davenne
Antoine Gauthier
Romain Lericollais
Pierre Philip
Jacques Taillard

Higher risk of accident is related to nocturnal activity when circadian clocks and sleep pressure increase sleepiness and decrease neurobehavioral performances. Performances assessed by simple reaction times remain stable for about 16 hr of wakefulness, and decrease thereafter to reach a dramatic impairment about 2-4 hr after the peak of melatonin. At that time the drowsiness that occurs has been identified as the reason behind fatal many individual and industrial accidents. Nocturnal neurobehavioral performance varies as a function of age. They are also widely dependant of individuals and only certain subjects seem significantly affected by sleep loss.

Studies have demonstrated the efficiency of some countermeasures such as sleeping (or napping) and the use of alertness-increasing agents (i.e. caffeine) on driving. If alertness is improved immediately following exercise, during the day, this potential countermeasure has never been study during the night. Furthermore, Matsumoto et al. suggested that exercise during an extended period of wakefulness results in an increased risk in human error. The effect of physical exercise on cognitive and motor performance depends both on the intensity and the duration of the exercise. It is a physical exercise of moderate intensity and duration which appears to ameliorate brain function. Consequently, moderate physical exercise may minimize the declines of driving performances due to sleep deprivation. Furthermore, these effects may be dependent of the age of the participants.

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