A sufferer of fatigue will experience chronic tiredness that can range in severity; in the worst of cases, sufferers might not even be able to get out of bed. Any kind of physical exertion can leave the sufferer feeling exhausted. There are many potential causes, including menopause, chronic fatigue syndrome, and stress.
The good news is that exercise can be an important tool in the fight against fatigue. Keep reading for more information about what to expect from fatigue and which exercises to use to combat it.
Symptoms of Fatigue
There is such a wide range of possibilities with regards to fatigue symptoms that every person will experience it differently. A few of the possibilities are:
- Muscle pain
- Difficulty concentrating
- “Brain fog” - problems organizing thoughts
- Sensitivity to light
- Stomach pain
- Memory lapses
Exercises to Combat Fatigue
Research has shown that exercise reduces levels of fatigue, even in the worst cases, as long as it is gentle and consistent. The following low impact activities are the most useful, as they are easy to build into a normal lifestyle and are not too strenuous so as to worsen fatigue.
Walking requires no special equipment or preparation, and its intensity can be tailored to your own needs and preferences. Starting with short, slow walks, you should find that your motivation and fitness increases, allowing you to up the length and speed of the exercise. Walking also fights fatigue by stimulating your blood flow, allowing cells in the body to get the nutrients they need. It is also effective as it releases endorphins, lifting your spirits and energy levels in turn.
Cycling will work the muscles that walking cannot and can be a fun activity to do with family and friends. The extra blood flow to the muscles will stave off muscle fatigue, which can often be the cause of general fatigue.
Swimming works your whole body without putting stress on your joints. For this reason, you can feel the benefit of exercise without subsequent joint or muscle inflammation. There are many ways you can use swimming to suit your needs. Join an aqua aerobics class if you prefer group activity, or swim laps if you want to build stamina and exercise alone.
It is important to focus on low impact activities when trying to combat fatigue, as doing too much too soon will put your body under stress and have a counter-effect. The bright side is that exercise will help combat fatigue, so trying some of the exercises in this article should help combat fatigue naturally.
- The European Food Information Council. (2014). Low impact aerobic exercise reduces fatigue in auto-immune conditions says multi-study review. Retrieved October 10, 2014, from http://www.eufic.org/page/en/show/latest-science-news/fftid/low-impact-aerobic-auto-immune/
- Love, S. & Lindsey, K. (2003). Dr. Susan Love's Menopause & Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- Menopause Centre Australia. (2013). Fatigue. Retrieved October 10, 2014, from http://menopausecentre.com.au/Symptoms-Fatigue-menopause
- Schwartz, A.L. (2000). Daily fatigue patterns and effect of exercise in women with breast cancer. Cancer practice, 8(1), 16-24. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10732535