Physiological, perceptual and other performance decrements in combat related tasks following prolonged heavy-load marching

Clark, Lisa Anne (2000) Physiological, perceptual and other performance decrements in combat related tasks following prolonged heavy-load marching. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




In response to challenging situations physiological and psychological adaptations result in elevated levels of arousal and when these levels are 'optimal' performance is enhanced. There are however, limitations to the amount of physiological and mental stimulation one can tolerate, with cumulative fatigue effects being the outcome when stressful conditions are imposed on the individual over an extended period of time. As a result of the extreme physical and cognitive demands placed on military forces while in combat, with soldiers being thrust into battle and required to make critical life-or-death determining decisions followed by appropriate motor responses, the physical and psychological capabilities of the troops are pushed to maximal limits, often resulting in undesirable decrements in physical and mental performance, with consequential human and materiel losses. Thirty-two soldiers participated in a battery of combat-related field and laboratory tests, first under 'normal' conditions with no prior physical activity and then immediately after the participation of an intensive bout of exercise. Physiological and perceptual responses plus standard of performance were measured at various stages of testing. Results of the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE), Body Discomfort Scale and heart rate responses revealed significantly higher levels of psychophysical strai,n in response to the strenuous physical activity. Despite these findings, the electromyographic (EMG) activity and efficiency of the combat-related skills were not negatively affected. Rather, nominal improvements in post-activity performance were noted, specifically response time, and this was attributed to elevated arousal and activation as a result of the exercise that was of sufficient duration to enhance arousal without imposing long term cumulative fatigue effects.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Performance standards, Exercise, Marching
Subjects:T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General) > Human engineering (Ergonomics)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Human Kinetics & Ergonomics
ID Code:2430
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:31 Jan 2012 09:06
Last Modified:31 Jan 2012 09:06
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