Time to release the pillow.
FITNESS A simple remedy for fatigue is to take a brief nap or get a good night's sleep. But what if after 8 to 10 hours of overnight rest, you still wake up feeling sluggish throughout the day? When this happens, it becomes difficult to consider any other remedy contrary to more sleep.
The good news is that often times, lack of rest is the culprit — especially following weeks or months of deprivation, whether from working to meet deadlines or extending recreation into the wee morning hours. Just like an overdrawn bank account, sleep debt must be repaid. But sleep debt might not be the cause of the fatigue that persists more than a week.
Nutrition has a significant effect on energy levels. Lack of protein, carbohydrates, vitamin B12, and omega fatty acids can make a person feel sluggish, like wet dish rag.
Fatigue may be caused by nutritional deficiencies, medications, infections, cardiopulmonary problems, metabolic disorders, sleep apnea, or psychiatric issues, just to name a few. Fatigue with dizziness can be symptomatic of a need for detoxification. So if the inexpensive simple remedies don't work, a trip to the doctor is in order. However, there's another often overlooked inexpensive possible remedy: exercise. I know, even saying the word takes effort.
Road to Recovery
Take some vitamins, especially protein and B12 today or an organic fruit and vegetable smoothie and rest up. Tomorrow morning, drag yourself out of bed, even if you have to crawl on the floor. That's where we want to start anyway.
From this position do some planking. Balance on your forearms and toes (or your knees if you must), as if you are about to do a pushup (but don't). Keeping your back as straight as a plank, hold for as long as you can. Lower yourself between sets to catch your breath. Repeat the cycle for a total of one 60 counts. If that is too difficult, do 5 sets of as many crunches as you can. Exhausted? Depending upon how fast you count, that's your first minute or so of exercise. It strengthens your core — abdomen and back. Now, get up from the floor.
Find some small weights or large canned goods. While standing with feet parallel to shoulders, do some alternating curls. Elbows at your sides, bend to bring weights to your shoulders 60 times. That's your second minute of exercise. Don't give up now. If you don't have equilibrium issues or bouts of vertigo, with feet separated just enough to be align beneath your shoulders, bend over to stretch out your back and hamstrings while attempting to touch the floor. Whether you can actually reach your toes or not, just hang there for 30 seconds. Stand up straight before repeating twice more.
How do you feel? You've gotten your blood circulating without paying a gym. You're now ready for the most challenging test of your fitness so far. Put on some comfortable clothes. (That wasn't the test). Have an 8-ounce glass of water while you lace up your tennis shoes. Ready?
Open the front door, head towards the sidewalk, and walk briskly around two blocks. If that's not possible, walk the distance of 100 city houses (5000 feet or about a mile). Live in a rural area? Walk to your second closest neighbor's mailbox and back (not the one next door). Swing those arms while you walk. It should take at least 20 minutes. Don't walk slower to stretch out the time; repeat the cycle if necessary.
When you return, take a shower, prepare a nutritious breakfast and take a multivitamin or another smoothie. In less than half an hour you've had a good workout. Rest the next day. Alternate exercising every other day. Your doctor's appointment about fatigue is probably at least a week away. Keep up the routine until then, or until you cancel the appointment because of finding the solution. As a side benefit, when your physician asks about your exercise routine to rule out possible causes, you'll have something specific to relate.
Gradually Ramping Up For More Benefits
During the second week, find some compact soil and begin jogging for a long as you can, even if it's one minute, then walk the remainder of your 20 minutes. During the next two weeks add 5 minutes per day to your walk-run until you reach a full hour. It is claimed that it takes three weeks to form a habit. Why not try and see? It beats staying in bed for three weeks. In a short time, you'll be running from the pillow in order to combat fatigue. You may even become a Hangtighter with MarC for more challenging workouts. Regardless of your pace, you'll feel better about exercising.
The additional muscle mass will increase your metabolism, which burns calories so you can be A Bit More Healthy. According to Mayo Clinic: "Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores."
- What causes fatigue? medicinenet.com
- Is it true that if you do anything for three weeks it will become a habit? howstuffworks.com
- 7 benefits of regular physical activity. mayoclinic.com
- Photography by Elke Weinert licensed from iStock Photo.