BACKGROUND: Previous research shows that mental fatigue leading to decreased cognitive functioning may occur after 2 hours of continuous activity. This decline could be detrimental to esports athletes who may play for 3 or more hours at a time. Use of a moderate-intensity exercise break following 1 hour of gaming did not improve cognitive functioning more than continuous play. Increases in blood glucose levels are typically related to increases in cognitive functioning. Therefore, research should be done to investigate the relationship between glucose levels and cognitive function during long-duration gaming and how the use of an active exercise break may impact this relationship. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of low-volume, high-intensity exercise during continuous gaming on esport performance compared to a passive break and to determine the relationship glucose levels and fatigue may have on cognitive function both with and without exercise. METHODS: Twenty subjects completed a familiarization trial before returning to the lab having fasted for 3 hours. Pre-measurements including blood glucose, perceptual fatigue, eye tracking, and accuracy and speed using the aim training platform, AimHero, were conducted. The participants played Apex Legends for 2.5 hours before completing either 4 minutes of exercise followed by 5 minutes of rest and a measure of exertion, or a 9-minute break in the control condition. After another 2.5 hours of gaming, participants completed the post-tests. Participants returned for the second trial after at least 24 hours. RESULTS: The main finding was a significant increase (p < 0.001) in fatigue in both conditions over 5 hours with a significantly greater (p=0.007) decrease in pupil diameter in the control condition (con=-0.225±0.210, ex=-0.149±0.166 mm) but with no differences in glucose (con=94.05±9.33, ex=98.30±10.05 mg/dL, p=0.356) or perceived fatigue (con=5.18±1.69, ex=4.47±2.05, p=0.719) between conditions. However, there was no consequential decrease (p > 0.05) in aiming accuracy or speed in either condition. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that long-duration gameplay results in increased levels of fatigue but may not result in decreased game performance when a break is taken, despite whether the break is active or passive, but an exercise break may alleviate the increase in physiological fatigue.

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