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Muscle Fatigue: What Is it and How Do You Combat It?

Combat Muscle Fatigue

Often, we feel tired and aren’t quite sure why, especially after getting back into our routine. Imagine any typical day: the morning rush with the kids, work stress, coming home and still wanting to exercise. Night-time arrives, and you’re exhausted; your body wants more than it can give, yet you can’t move a muscle. Why does this happen? This phenomenon is known as muscle fatigue.

If you relate to this, don’t worry, because we’ll explain what muscle fatigue is, its symptoms and how to naturally and effectively combat or prevent it so that tiredness doesn’t get the better of you!

What Is Muscle Fatigue?

Muscle fatigue is when you’re partially or totally unable to do physical activities, whether it’s after intense exercise or due to daily strain. It’s marked by a muscle deficiency caused by extreme exhaustion in muscle fibres, resulting in reduced performance and a sense of exhaustion

This phenomenon can occur both acutely, manifesting quickly after intense effort, and chronically, developing over time due to factors such as prolonged stress or poor nutrition.

Causes of Muscle Fatigue

Muscle fatigue isn’t solely caused by physical exertion but also by less obvious factors that affect our muscles’ ability to function efficiently. Here are some situations that can contribute to this physical issue:

  1. Intense or prolonged exercise: Pushing yourself at the gym or during any physical activity can tire out your muscles. Likewise, if muscles are forced to work without sufficient oxygen, they switch to anaerobic metabolism, resulting in the production of lactic acid. Excess lactic acid can damage muscle fibres, causing fatigue and pain.
  2. Lack of rest: Not getting adequate sleep hinders proper muscle recovery. Furthermore, overtraining can lead to breakdowns or injuries, significantly affecting our physical performance.
  3. Poor nutrition: Not eating well and not getting enough vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates means your muscles lack the nutrients they need to function optimally.
  4. Dehydration: Losing fluids and electrolytes through sweat without proper replenishment can significantly decrease muscle performance.
  5. Chronic stress: Being constantly tense can wear you out physically and mentally.
  6. Insufficient calcium intake, for instance, can affect the muscle contraction and relaxation process, crucial for every movement. 
  7. Glycogen deficiency, our energy reserve from carbohydrates, limits our strength and endurance, causing muscles to fatigue more quickly.

Other factors such as genetic predisposition, lack of sleep and the consumption of harmful substances like alcohol, tobacco or drugs also significantly impact our susceptibility to muscle fatigue.

Symptoms: How to Identify Muscle Fatigue?

Identifying muscle fatigue is crucial for addressing it properly. Though symptoms vary, the main and most common ones include:

  1. Elevated heart rate even at rest
  2. Difficulty breathing after minimal exertion
  3. Joint and muscle pain, which can be diffuse or localised
  4. Generalised weakness, affecting both exercise ability and daily activities
  5. Persistent exhaustion, not relieved by usual rest

It’s crucial to understand that these signs can manifest at different times: during exercise, while resting, or they may even intensify at night, disrupting sleep and proper rest.

Preventing Muscle Fatigue

How Do You Combat It?

While we acknowledge that completely avoiding muscle fatigue can be challenging when our lifestyle demands a fast pace, here are some useful tips to combat and alleviate it:

  • Adequate rest: It’s essential to avoid overtraining and ensure you get restorative sleep to allow your muscles to recover.
  • Stretching and warming up: Incorporating a stretching and warm-up routine before any physical activity prepares the muscles and reduces the risk of injuries and fatigue.
  • Proper nutrition: A balanced diet rich in complex carbohydrates, high-quality proteins and healthy fats provides the energy and nutrients necessary for muscle recovery and maintenance. Needless to say, it’s crucial to eliminate or reduce processed foods (sugary drinks, pre-packaged meals, pastries…).
  • Hydration: Staying adequately hydrated is vital for optimal muscle function and to prevent fatigue.
  • Supplementation: In certain cases, including dietary supplements like magnesium, potassium and B vitamins can be beneficial. Moreover, it’s always wise to consult a healthcare professional before beginning any supplementation regimen.

Additional Natural Treatments

In addition to the advice we’ve just covered, there are natural treatments that help alleviate muscle fatigue and accelerate recovery:

  • Therapeutic massages: Massages aid in relaxing tense muscles, improving circulation and facilitating the elimination of toxins. Products like Atlantias Relaxing Gel, enriched with aloe vera, arnica and harpagophytum, amplify these effects due to their anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
  • Cold and heat therapies: Alternating between cold and heat reduces inflammation and eases muscle pain. Cold reduces inflammation, while heat enhances blood circulation, promoting recovery.

Low-impact exercises: Moderate engagement in activities like yoga or swimming is highly beneficial as they foster flexibility and strength without placing excessive strain on the muscles.

How to Prevent Muscle Fatigue

Preventing muscle fatigue is achievable by embracing a healthy lifestyle that includes:

  1. Balanced exercise routines: Alternating the intensity and type of exercise to prevent overtraining.
  2. Balance between activity and rest: Listening to the body and resting when necessary is essential for avoiding exhaustion.
  3. Proper nutrition and hydration: Maintaining a balanced diet and ensuring adequate hydration are vital for muscle and overall performance.
  4. Using specific products: Regular use of products like Atlantia’s Pure Aloe Vera Gel can offer effective and natural relief for muscle tension, thanks to its hydrating and soothing properties. Likewise, you can apply Relaxing Gel after intense activity or simply at the end of the day.

With these tips and treatments, you can tackle muscle fatigue and reclaim the vitality you need in your daily life. Take care of your body and feel better than ever!