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Fatigue During Exercise

Tips for Understanding and Managing Fatigue During Exercise

Fatigue during exercise tends to occur in the following three stages.

 1. Depletion of performance in the central nervous system
    (This can effect behaviour, performance quality, and efficiency of movement).

 2. Energy reserves becoming depleted
    (This reduces the capacity to perform)

 3. Morphological changes
    (This can change the state of the blood and cause tissue damage)

Note : The nervous system will normally deteriorate well before any morphological deterioration; and as such, the condition of the nervous system should be the main factor in determining training loads.

Fatigue While Exercising
•  1st stage (Depletion in Central Nervous System Performance)
 This is seen in the person's attitude or mood, as well as their actions.  They may still be able to perform, but their mood may change from happy to more serious or even a negative mood. They may acknowledge difficulty as the first threshold is approached.

•  2nd stage (Depletion of Energy Reserves)
 This is indicated by a deterioration in performance (distance being run, amount of
 weight being lifted, times being clocked/rate of activity, etc).  A higher level of activity may be sustained by using extra muscles, or an extra psychological effort, but performance efficiency will decrease (eg. more energy will be used to perform the same tasks if they are being carried out by "alternative" muscles).

• 3rd stage (Morphological changes)
 The fact that this stage has been reached may be indicated by:
 -incomplete recovery between repetitions (eg. in lifting weights)
 -progressive deterioration in performance despite deeper (heavier) breathing
  (This can indicate lactic acid build up)
 -Distressed behaviour

Upon any indication of the third stage being reached, all activity should immediately cease.

Fatigue Between Training Sessions
If there is inadequate rest between training sessions, there will be inadequate recovery. This is to be avoided. Such a state may be indicated by the following:

  • A negative attitude or mood
  • Any abnormal psychological behaviour
  • Commonly being quieter
  • Reluctance to commence another exercise session
  • Warm up activity is a poorer than normal performance
  •  Feeling stiff or sore.
  • Higher than normal pulse rate during rest period
  • Sore throat
  • Feelings of discomfort
  • Feeling sick or ill (eg. nausea)
  • Dizziness
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