Do You Get Tired After You Exercise?

Do you get tired after you exercise?  During this new routine of being home more, I thought it was the perfect time to build an exercise habit. For some reason, a nagging shoulder injury as one excuse, exercise is one healthy habit I have the hardest time being consistent with!  The first day I prepped my in-home work out area:  decluttered, got the perfect playlist, enjoyed lots of natural light, and set the room to a cooler temperature.  I tried a twenty minute MAD FIT video on YouTube.  Nothing to crazy, right?  I was proud of myself.  But let me tell you, I was pretty disappointed to notice that I was EXHAUSTED for the rest of the day.  I was not buzzing with energy and “feel good” endorphins that we all hear about.  Has this ever happened to you? It made me reflect on the state of my stress response <ie., my hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis function>  

You see, if you have been suffering from chronic stress (hello, Covid-19), or perhaps more commonly, chronic busyness, you are repeatedly mounting your stress response.  Much like a bank account, if you keep withdrawing more than you are putting in, you are going to start having some problems.  So if you keep mounting this stress response and aren’t necessarily making changes to build up your reserves, you start to see HPA axis dysfunction (often seen on the internet as “adrenal fatigue”).  Symptoms of such dysfunction can include:

  • Reduced exercise tolerance
  • Fatigue
  • Disturbed sleep, especially waking between 2-4 am
  • Not waking refreshed, even if you slept well
  • Increased tendency to colds and flus (or other illness)
  • Low libido

I know a lot of people are nodding at this list right now!

So how do you recover and “build up” that bank account?  Well, the plan can be simple.  Take less “money” out and put more in.  However, this is easier said than done, especially when we live in a world that thrives and prides itself on “productivity” and busyness.

We will talk about ways to put more “money” in your account in another post, but today we will address how to manage reduced exercise tolerance.  Essentially, after doing my HIIT workout and feeling exhausted throughout the rest of the day, my body was telling me that I took out more from my bank than I had in my account.  I was depleted.  So, should I just stop exercising? Heck no! We want to build our tolerance, because, obviously, exercise is so important for the mind and body in so many ways.

Things to stick to if you are in the same boat as me right now, are more gentle forms of movement such as yoga, walks in nature, gentle cycling, or maybe a short “beginner” workout. I know this can be frustrating as it doesn’t feel like you are doing “enough,” but with time, the goal is to build your reserves and start incorporating more moderate intensity exercise that we know is so beneficial.

So.  I am not going to give up on my goal of creating a more consistent exercise and movement routine; it’s just going to look a little different than the expectations I had originally set out for myself.  And isn’t that what we are having to do in all sorts of ways right now anyways?  And realizing that’s okay too.

Think you may be suffering from HPA axis dysfunction?  Start your journey to more energy and greater health, with a virtual naturopathic consult!

Please note:  there are other causes for the symptoms listed above, beyond HPA dysfunction, and that is why it is important to discuss your individual health concerns with your medical practitioner or a Naturopathic Doctor.  These blogs are not intended as recommendations for individuals, they are for information purposes only.

Photo Credit:  Photo by Derick McKinney on Unsplash