Exhaustion After Exercise: Why and What to Do

Extreme fatigue or exhaustion after workout may arise from intense physical exertion. However, when this becomes persistent so that you are always fatigued, it could signify a serious underlying condition that requires immediate medical attention. Fortunately, the majority of cases of fatigue after exercise are not connected to serious medical conditions. They can be prevented or treated by making some lifestyle changes or by using medication.


Exhaustion After Exercise: Why and What to Do

1.     Dehydration

You will lose fluid when you sweat. Besides water, sweat contains electrolytes which are necessary for cell-to-cell communication. Less than optimum levels of fluid and electrolytes leads to exhaustion during and after workouts.

What to Do

Experts say that men require 13 glasses of water daily, and women require 9 glasses. When working out, you need about 2 ½ extra glasses for each hour of exercise. Taking plain water is recommended. However, if you workout for more than one hour, an electrolyte-rich sports drink is also necessary to replace electrolytes lost in the sweat.

2.     Poor Diet

Your body needs fuel to perform and this comes from the food you eat. The food is broken down into glucose for use throughout the body. Any extra glucose is converted to glycogen and stored in the liver and muscles. When you start working out, your body uses available glucose first. When this is finished, glycogen is converted back to glucose for energy supply and once your glycogen stores are used up, you will get exhaustion after exercise.

What to Do

Eat a light snack before your workout if your workout will be no more than one hour. For longer workouts, eat a snack that takes longer to digest such as a banana. During thirty minutes after your workout, snack on something containing carbs and protein such as yogurt and fruit to help you recover and rebuild your glycogen stores.

3.     Overheating

Your body temperature rises as you exercise and may reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This happens because a lot of blood is diverted to the skin to help cool down the body. But when you are still working out, the circulatory system can be overwhelmed. This causes the temperature to rise even higher, which leads to fatigue and lowered performance.

What to Do

Ensure that you are well hydrated before and during exercise and keep dressing to a minimum to allow sweat to evaporate, which helps cool your body.

4.     Lack of Muscular Endurance

At the beginning of strenuous exercise routines such as weightlifting, your muscles won’t be ready for the continuous tension. This lack of muscular endurance will lead to faster exhaustion.

What to Do

Your gym trainer will assist you to work on building your muscle endurance by designing tailored training program. Training steadily and with time, you will achieve muscle strength and endurance.

5.     Poor Technique

Poor training technique such as incorrect breathing, can cause many problems and ultimately lead to exhaustion after exercise. Another common form of poor technique is excessive swaying of arms which wastes energy and leads to poor performance and tiredness.

What to Do

Be aware of your breathing during exercise and make adjustment so that it is smooth and stable. If this is difficult for you, talk to your doctor or trainer. Also take note of your training technique and make corrections where necessary.

6.     Overexertion

Overexertion is a common problem for sports people in endurance exercises such as marathon. Overexertion causes break down of muscle fibers. This can overtax the kidneys. Signs of overexertion include exhaustion, nausea, vomiting, decreased urine output and fever.

What to Do

Take time to rest for one or two days. If you don't recover, take additional one or two days. Full recovery may take days or even weeks.

7.     Stress and No Sleep

If you are stressed, you will be likely to feel tired or exhausted. And when you don’t sleep well, your body and mind fail to recharge so that you don't have the energy to face another day. Exercise leaves you tired already, and stressed and inadequately rested body further leads to exhaustion.

What to Do

Avoid exercise on days when you feel tired, stressed and inadequately rested. Go to bed one hour or longer earlier than usual, and take some time to meditate and let go the cause of your stress.

8.     Allergies and Asthma

If you have asthma or suffer from allergies, your body has a hard time getting the oxygen it needs to perform. Working out when your body is starving for oxygen causes exhaustion in your body cells, including those in your muscles and other organs.

What to Do

In case you experience wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath or tightness in the chest during or after working out, contact a doctor. These could be signs of exercise-induced asthma or another condition such as broncho-constriction whereby airways in the lungs constrict due to strenuous physical activity.

9.     Anemia

Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to various parts of the body. If you have anemia, your body does not get sufficient oxygen for optimum performance. Anemia results from low iron levels in the body which may be due to a low-iron diet. It may also be a result of heavy periods in women. Signs include pale skin, dizziness, insomnia, easy bruising and leg cramps.

What to Do

Visit a medical facility for testing and medication if necessary. You also need to adopt an iron-rich diet that includes fresh green vegetables, poultry and meat. You can also take iron supplements, especially if you are on a restricted diet.

10.     Thyroid Issues

The thyroid hormone is a critical player in energy metabolism. When the thyroid gland located in your neck does not produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone, the result is low energy and exhaustion. Exercise can aggravate the extent of fatigue. Signs of low thyroid hormone include low energy, weight gain, muscle pain and depression.

What to Do

If you experience persistent fatigue and muscle pain, visit a medical facility for a thyroid test. In case your doctor finds out that your exhaustion after exercise is a result of thyroid issues, he/she will prescribe medication to correct the deficiency. You will also need to adjust your diet to include foods rich in thyroid supporting nutrients such as iosol iodine, l-tyrosine, vitamin B12, zinc, selenium and manganese.

11.     Poor Cardiovascular Fitness

Exhaustion after workout can be the result of poor cardiovascular fitness. Working out without breaks or working out too hard too soon can strain your heart and circulation system, leaving you exhausted.

What to do

Take a five minute break to lower the heart rate and rehydrate by taking some water. Rehydration will reduce blood thickness, allowing for easier pumping.

12.     Illness

In case you are recovering from an illness, you may feel fine doing your routine activities. However, exercising is more demanding on your body and can lead to exhaustion.

What to Do

Don't engage in exercise until you fully recover from the illness. And start in the training program in low strength and gradually increase the intensity.

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