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Tips For Exercising When You're Fighting Fatigue

tired woman

It can be really frustrating when you want to exercise but you're too tired to make it happen, and this in turn can affect your motivation. Whether it's just general tiredness, life circumstances, stress, a medical condition or you've hit full on burnout, there are still ways to get your body moving to suit your energy levels.

Be kind to yourself

Too often we're told to push through and get on with it, but if you're already tired and then you add to that by doing an intense workout, you're giving your nervous system signals that you're in fight or flight mode. Whatever feelgood endorphins you get may be short-lived, and the overall result could end in worse fatigue once the initial energy rush wears off. Repeated over time, this can lead to burnout which often happens with people in stressful jobs or living situations - especially if you're not getting enough sleep.

It would instead be better to get some decent rest (we're talking sleep, a quick nap... not watching television or scrolling through your phone!) and then attempt an activity to suit your energy levels. When you feel decently well-rested, that's the time to hit the harder workouts!

Address the reason you're fatigued

This may seem pretty obvious, but sometimes it's easier said than done. There are things we can control and things that we can't. Are you doing everything within your control to address the reason you're tired? If not, why not? What little change/s could you make to prevent the onset of fatigue in the first place?

For example, if you're tired because you're not getting enough sleep, could you have an earlier bed time to get in more hours? An afternoon nap to catch up? Try white noise to keep you asleep if you're waking up frequently? If you're tired because you're running out of fuel, could you change the timing of your meals? Include quality low-GI carbs for steady slow release energy?

Fatigue can often be an issue for mums with small children - it can be helpful to remember that they won't be small and going through periods of change so often forever. Do what you can within your energy levels and know that there will be plenty of time for you to up your exercise efforts later once your child is older.

Take on low intensity exercise

Exercise doesn't have to be difficult or fast-paced to get benefits from it. Some activities you could do include:

  • Yin or slow flow yoga (as opposed to more intense flow such as Ashtanga or Bikram)
  • Stretching
  • Walking. You could change up the scenery and go in the forest, around a nearby park, venture out into your neighbourhood or walk by the water - sometimes walking by the ocean can help alleviate fatigue.
  • Water walking

You could also break up your exercise throughout the day; if you find longer workouts hard to tolerate, break them up into 5 minute blocks during the day instead.

Hopefully as your body becomes used to your training (balanced with a good rest and recovery routine), your tolerance to it will grow and you'll be able to train for longer or at a higher intensity. Your body will give you signals if it's not happy about what you're doing, so if an exercise activity makes you feel exhausted, you're unable to hold a conversation or you're feeling sick/dizzy, these are signs you should take it down a notch or stop and rest.

Image / DepositPhotos

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