Evidence for complex system integration and dynamic neural regulation of skeletal muscle recruitment during exercise in humans

Br J Sports Med. 2004 Dec;38(6):797-806. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2003.009852.


A model is proposed in which the development of physical exhaustion is a relative rather than an absolute event and the sensation of fatigue is the sensory representation of the underlying neural integrative processes. Furthermore, activity is controlled as part of a pacing strategy involving active neural calculations in a "governor" region of the brain, which integrates internal sensory signals and information from the environment to produce a homoeostatically acceptable exercise intensity. The end point of the exercise bout is the controlling variable. This is an example of a complex, non-linear, dynamic system in which physiological systems interact to regulate activity before, during, and after the exercise bout.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Fatigue / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Recruitment, Neurophysiological / physiology*
  • Sensation / physiology