MUSCLE FATIGUE… WHY DO WE GET IT? AND HOW WE CAN AVOID IT!

SUMMARY

Muscle fatigue is one of the most common complaints among athletes and general population getting into fitness. Whether they’re into cycling, running, bodybuilding or cross training you’ll know how it feels to have, sore fatigued muscles and low energy during and after exercise.

Fatigue and muscle pain are just one of the many signs of muscle exhaustion, where your body is demanding rest and recovery. You may also experience pain and aches, overall weaknesses or soreness. Even localised swelling in over worked areas, decreased performance and poor recovery from training are highly common too. A huge reason why the recovery aspect of physical exercise is so highly necessary in anyone’s training programme for the results they need.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of muscle fatigue and when it affects the individual can vary from one person to the next depending on the cause of muscle fatigue. Overtraining, for example can lead to delayed-onset muscle soreness commonly referred to as “DOMS”. This symptom can occur about 24 to 48 hours after exercise, causing fatigue, dull muscle aches, inflammation and strength loss. The pain can be debilitating and, in some cases, deter you from training for multiple days, contradicting the whole point of regular exercise.

Physical exercise affects your central nervous system when under load and the equilibrium of the bodies internal environment. During exercise your contracting muscles like the chest and triceps in a bench press generate force and heat. The generated energy then depletes the energy stocks within the body. Without enough rest and recovery these stocks will stay depleted for longer affecting your performance and energy. Depending on the exercise, sooner or later sensations of fatigue and exhaustion will occur.

3 Quick tips on avoiding muscle fatigue!

  1. Number one and arguably always will be is Nutrition, maintaining a balanced diet that includes a balance of, Protein, Fats and complex Carbohydrates. Protein is one of the building blocks in building lean muscle mass and increasing performance, paired with a good source of carbohydrates for energy and drive during your workouts. Carbohydrates are responsible for maintaining your muscles glycogen levels which are largely depleted during exercise. Then most importantly making sure to have a nutritious meal after exercise, this will help encourage repair and then refuel the muscles that were broken down during exercise to from and strengthen.
  2. The second arguably most important aspect of avoiding muscle fatigue is Hydration, drinking a enough water throughout the day and during exercise is critical factor to prevent dehydration, electrolyte loss, and muscle fatigue which makes sense when our bodies are made up of WATER. An easy approximate estimate for people to go off is to drink at least 1L per 25kg of body weight per day, not only will you feel less dehydrated, but your body will feel more energised and replenished from each workout.
  3. The last but equally as important tip is rest and recovery from exercise. Importantly adding a warmup and cool down for at least 5 to 10 minutes every time you work out will promote safe and efficient movements with warm muscles and then cooling down to then slowly stretch the contracted muscle back out and avoid unnecessary injury or over fatigue. Going hand in hand with exercise is recovery and letting our bodies have enough sleep to recover the muscles worked while training. Getting a sound 8+ hours of sleep a night has been proven to improve fatigue and promote efficient muscle growth.

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