Respiratory system determinants of peripheral fatigue and endurance performance

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Mar;40(3):457-61. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31815f8957.


We briefly summarize recent evidence pertaining to how mechanisms primarily under the control of the respiratory system-namely, arterial oxyhemoglobin desaturation, respiratory muscle work and fatigue, and cyclical fluctuations in intrathoracic pressure-may contribute to exercise limitation. Respiratory influences on cardiac output and on sympathetic vasoconstrictor activity and blood flow distribution are shown to be important determinants of performance. We also address how a compromised O2 transport exacerbates the rate of development of peripheral muscle fatigue and, in turn, precipitates central fatigue and exercise limitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arteries
  • Exercise Test
  • Fatigue / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Oxyhemoglobins / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Respiratory Muscles
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena*
  • United States


  • Oxyhemoglobins