How Burnout Might Work

How Burnout Might Work
The 6 April 2002 New Scientist carried an article on lifelong fitness which included mention of interesting preliminary results by running physiologist Tim Noakes whose recent research on ultramarathoners suggests a mechanism for burnout. Noakes studied 30 men who’d experienced physical burnout – the somewhat sudden inability to do the workouts they’d always done, to keep up with old training partners, etc. Noakes suspects that “satellite” cells, whose function is to grow replacements for damaged muscle cells, can only undergo a limited number of repair cycles before DNA damages degrades their ability to do so. Noakes belief is that this is an issue for people who race 30K or longer, more than for shorter-distance racers. New Scientist quotes Noakes, “Mu hunch is that whenever you have marked muscle soreness that lasts more than a few days, there is probably damage that’s not reversible in the long term.”

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