Post-exercise Fatigue Syndrome: The Perils of Excessive Exercise

couple using a treadmill

The increasing obsession with fitness has taken a toll on everyone’s concept of body image. Men and women, especially the younger ones, are joining diet and fitness fads to get the ideal body they always wanted in the shortest possible time.

It’s not surprising why many people have been flocking to gyms and fitness centers and joining sports activities. Most of them are willing to devote more time, money, and energy to embrace a fitness lifestyle. But sometimes, pushing our bodies to the limit can ruin not only our fitness goals but also our overall health.

Fitness buffs or athletes are never spared from the dangers of chronic fatigue. In times of severe injuries, they turn to therapists or doctors for sports injury to seek treatment and rehabilitation.

Falling ill after a workout isn’t normal. Although we often feel sweaty, tired, and even sore after exercising, there’s always a limit on everything. In fact, if you’ve been feeling exhausted after every workout, then you’re likely prone to a health disorder called post-exercise fatigue syndrome.

What is post-exercise fatigue syndrome?

Post-exercise fatigue is a multifactorial disorder where the body becomes intolerant to high-intensity exercise. This involves performing any exercise or workout routine that takes the body beyond its comfort zone. It happens when a person consistently and progressively overloads their muscles and forces the cardio system to adapt to the high-intensity demands of exercise.

When we hit the gym regularly or join a fitness craze, the idea of working out becomes fully ingrained in our daily routine, especially if we start to notice the results, and we increase our fitness level. Once our motivation level reaches its all-time high, we start to give our all by exposing our bodies to strenuous workout routines.

People have become transfixed to the idea that any form of exercise is healthy that we subject our bodies to extreme workouts. In reality, more isn’t always better. Working out too hard for an extended period pushes us to suffer from burnout, staleness, or worse, post-exercise fatigue.

This type of syndrome involves a variety of symptoms, such as excessive tiredness, constant fatigue, energy loss, joint pain, muscle stiffness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, fast heart rate, and unusual breathlessness. These symptoms often last over 24 hours with a continuous impact on everyday life.

Most people often confuse post-exercise fatigue with muscle soreness and discomfort, but the two are very much different in terms of their health implications.
Symptoms of post-exercise fatigue syndrome range from moderate, strong, or debilitating. It’s like having severe flu after every workout. High-intensity workouts are not the only cause of this disorder. Others experience its symptoms even from long walks and moderate-intensity exercise.

Underlying causes of post-exercise fatigue

back pain

Although fatigue usually happens to larger muscles such as the arms, upper body, and legs, it also affects smaller muscles in our hands and feet.

Keep in mind that post-exercise fatigue is a very complex condition, which means the symptoms can be far more serious than the fatigue you usually experience after a normal workout. Symptoms can also be attributed to different mechanisms. It’s not an illness or disease, but it can occur when a person suffers from serious conditions, such as respiratory illness, heart conditions, genetic disorders, chronic fatigue, and issues with oxygen consumption.

If symptoms of fatigue occur for several days after the last workout session, these underlying issues point out to post-exercise fatigue syndrome. Those people suffering from this condition have more difficulty processing energy than normal people, making it hard to fuel their bodies during workouts. In this case, post-exercise fatigue syndrome becomes a metabolic issue.

How to prevent post-exercise fatigue

If you’ve been feeling unusually tired after your exercise, it’s important to increase your energy levels back to normal. Start by setting a proper workout schedule by making sure you don’t visit the gym too often. Since our muscles need time to repair themselves, avoid scheduling your workouts in two consecutive days. Structure your workout schedule in a way that you get enough recovery before your next visit.

Keep your body energized by eating foods rich in carbohydrates and protein and keeping your body hydrated by drinking 500 ml of water before working out. Also, never take a good night’s sleep for granted because it helps in reducing residual fatigue.

Exercise is one of the proven ways to maintain good health and well-being. But pushing our body’s to the limit just to lose weight or get the desired body shape can take a toll on our bodies. Intense exercise can lead to health disorders such as post-exercise fatigue syndrome. In the end, if you want to have that healthy and fit body, the secret is to set the right balance.

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