The post-exercise emotional response is mainly dependent on the intensity of the exercise performed; moderate exercise causes positive feelings, whereas maximal exercise may prompt negative affects. Acute hypoxia impairs peak O2 uptake (VO2peak), resulting in a shift to a lower absolute intensity at the point of exhaustion. Hence, the purpose of the study was to examine whether a severe hypoxic stimulus would influence the post-exercise affective state in healthy lowlanders performing an incremental exercise to exhaustion. Thirty-six male lowlanders performed, in a counter-balanced order and separated by a 48-h interval, two incremental exercise trials to exhaustion to determine their VO2peak, while they were breathing either room air (AIR; FiO2: 0.21), or a hypoxic gas mixture (HYPO; FiO2: 0.12). Before and immediately after each trial, subjects were requested to complete two questionnaires, based on how they felt at that particular moment: (i) the Profile of Mood States-Short Form, and (ii) the Activation Deactivation Adjective Check List. During the post-exercise phase, they also completed the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory. VO2peak was significantly lower in the HYPO than the AIR trial (~15%; p<0.001). Still, after the HYPO trial, energy, calmness and motivation were markedly impaired, whereas tension, confusion, and perception of physical and general fatigue were exaggerated (p≤0.05). Accordingly, present findings suggest that an incremental exercise to exhaustion performed in severe hypoxia provokes negative post-exercise emotions, induces higher levels of perceived fatigue and decreases motivation; the affective responses coincide with the comparatively lower VO2peak than that achieved in normoxic conditions.
Elsevier, 2016. Vol. 156