Regular exercise provides a host of immediate and long-term benefits. Those who exercise regularly can maintain healthy weights while reducing their risk for illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
While exercise can make people more energetic throughout the day, some might find themselves battling fatigue during their workouts. Muscle fatigue is a normal side effect of exercise, but people who are experiencing difficulty getting through their workouts due to fatigue may benefit from the following strategies.
• Eat a balanced diet. The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City advises that a well-balanced diet that includes complex proteins, fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates can help men and women combat workout fatigue. People who are working out in an effort to lose weight may think that combining exercise with a diet low in carbohydrates can help them achieve their goal more quickly. However, the HSS advises people dealing with workout fatigue to increase the amount of carbohydrates they eat. Doing so will help muscles maintain their glycogen levels, which are depleted during exercise. According to the HSS, carbs should account for between 40 and 60 percent of aerobic athletes’ caloric intake, and between 30 and 35 percent for anaerobic athletes.
• Eat before and after a workout. Early risers who like to exercise first thing in the morning might develop muscle fatigue if they workout on empty stomachs. The HSS recommends eating a light meal or snack roughly two hours before exercising, and then eating again within one hour of finishing a workout. Doing so provides some energy during a workout and helps muscles broken down during exercise refuel and repair.
• Stay hydrated. Hydrating during a workout helps replace the water and nutrients that are lost through sweat. Muscles that are not hydrated during a workout and throughout the rest of the day are susceptible to fatigue.
• Use proper form when exercising. Improper form can lead to injury and/or muscle fatigue. Men and women who cannot adhere to proper form when working out may need to reduce the amount of weight they’re lifting. As activities are performed using proper form, people may find they’re building muscle without growing fatigued. As workouts progress, weight can be added.
• Give the body time to recover. Whether it’s more time between sets of repetitions or an extra day off between workouts, a fatigued body might just need more time to rest and recover. Aging men and women must recognize that they might not be capable of pushing themselves as hard as they once did and should adjust their workouts accordingly.
Fatigue is a formidable foe for exercise enthusiasts. But such exhaustion can oftentimes be overcome with a few simple strategies.