T Nation

alpha and exercise

After doing some research on Alpha waves, I found the following:

  1. Individuals who meditate have significantly more alpha wave rythm than those who don’t meditate. [Khare KC et al, A study of electroencephalogram in meditators, Indian J physiol pharmacol.]

  2. Alpha waves are associated with higher degrees of concentration and relaxation. They’re also correlated with lower cortisol levels. Good for the recovery period.

  3. Fatigue due to hyperthermia during prolonged exercise in the heat is associated with a significantly elevated alpha/beta ratio. [Nielsen B et al, Brain activity and fatigue during prolonged exercise in the heat, pflugers arch. 2001 apr]

  4. Fatigue due to hyperthermia seems to be caused by changes in cerebral activity rather than peripheral fatigue (fatigue of the muscles) [Nielsen B, Cerebral changes during exercise in the heat, sports med. 2003]

From these studies I found on Pubmed it seems clear Alpha activity is desirable during the recovery period, but undesirable during the workout, since research suggests it’s correlated with poorer performance, a higher perception of physical exertion, and greater heart rate.

So what’s your conclusion? Meditate on the couch but not in the squat rack?

That tends to be my approach. Get pissed at the gym, chill out at home.

Dan “Fuck Yoga” McVicker