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The Importance of Fatigue Management

Repeated, intense use of your muscles leads to a decline in performance known as muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue is a commonly experienced phenomenon that limits athletic performance and other strenuous or prolonged activity. It is also increases and restricts daily life under various pathological conditions, including neurological, muscular and cardiovascular disorders, as well as ageing. When you experience fatigue, the force behind your muscles’ movements decrease, causing you to feel weaker.

Exercise and Muscle Fatigue

The science behind exercise and muscle fatigue can seen overwhelming however when understood, it can really help you to control muscle fatigue. When you exercise, this affects the biochemical equilibrium within the exercising muscle cells such as protons and lactate accumulate within these cells. These biochemical products directly affect the mechanical machinery of the muscle cell.

The muscle metabolites produced, and the generated heat of muscle contraction, are released into the internal environment, putting stress on its steady state.

* The tremendous increase in muscle metabolism compared with rest conditions induces an immense increase in muscle blood supply, causing an increase in the blood circulation system. Nutrients have to be supplied to the exercising muscle, emptying the energy stocks elsewhere in body. Furthermore, the contracting muscle fibres release cytokines which in their turn create many effects in other organs, including the brain.

* All these different mechanisms sooner or later create sensations of fatigue and exhaustion in the mind of the exercising subject. The final effect is a reduction or complete cessation of the exercise.

Mechanisms of Fatigue

Muscle fatigue can occur in two basic mechanisms: involved within the motor units (i.e. peripheral nerves, motor endplates, muscle fibers).

1. Peripheral fatigue is produced by changes at or distal to the neuromuscular junction. The cause may be the depletion of some necessary substances or the accumulation of catabolites or other substances set free by the muscle activity.

2. Central fatigue originates at the central nervous system which decreases the neural drive to the muscle. It is caused by an inhibition elicited by nervous impulses from receptors in the fatigued muscles. The inhibition may act on the motor pathways anywhere from the voluntary centers in the brain to the spinal motor neurons. This kind of fatigue manifests itself by a decrease in the outflow of motor impulses to the muscles.


There are no formal guidelines for treating muscle fatigue as a symptom. Treatment depends on the underlying cause of muscle fatigue and accompanying symptoms. If muscle fatigue, especially if it’s unrelated to exercise, a doctors assessment is needed to evaluate clients medical history and symptoms to rule out more serious health conditions. In many cases, your muscle fatigue will improve with rest and recovery. Staying hydrated and maintaining a healthy diet can also improve your recovery. Overcoming it requires a plan involving nutrition, recovery, stretching, resting, and maintaining the right attitude.

At Full Care Physio, we specialise in recovery and fatigue management, providing personalised recovery plans from the start of your treatment to the end. We implement exercises for you to carry out from the comfort of your own space as well as educate you on the mechanics of your body. We understand the importance of recovery on your performance and ensure to aid you in managing your body and optimising performance.

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