Why is it that both men and women experience “fatigue” or “exhaustion” at many points in their lives, especially when they need their energy the most. However, since the term is so broad and sometimes difficult to explain, a way to simplify this condition is to qualify the term fatigue as either muscle fatigue or mental fatigue. According to the “National Institute on Aging” (NIA), understanding each qualifier is a way to better understand how to cope with this condition and learn how to get your energy back.
Muscle fatigue is simply the decline in ability of a muscle to generate force. For example, while exercising, your muscles feel weak, painful and tired. This is muscle fatigue, and it can be caused by a variety of physical, environmental, biochemical and nutritional factors. According to the “European Journal of Applied Physiology”, muscle fatigue can be caused either by a failure of the nervous system to communicate with muscle tissue or by metabolic processes. However, muscle fatigue is brought on by physical action and is completely reversible once the body has recovered from physical exertion.
On the other hand, Mental Fatigue is best defined as the difficulty in initiating or sustaining a voluntary cognitive performance, resulting in a person feeling sad or lethargic, or simply lacking energy. A simple solution to combat a lack of energy is supplementation with vitamins and/or supplements. Adrafinil is a popular pro-drug supplement that can be purchased without a prescription in the USA. The term ‘pro-drug’ means that the body converts an in-active drug into an active drug. In the case of Adrafinil, it is metabolized to Modafinil. The main effect of this drug is wakefulness and increased energy, although users notice that weight loss is also aided while taking Adrafinil.
While acute fatigue is a normal phenomenon that disappears after a period of rest; in contrast, long-term fatigue (chronic fatigue) is sometimes irreversible and the compensation mechanisms that are useful in reducing acute fatigue are no longer effective. Chronic fatigue is caused by the prolonged accumulation of acute fatigue. Therefore, in order to avoid chronic fatigue, it is important to develop effective strategies to recover from and avoid the accumulation of acute fatigue.
Following are five easy steps to combat acute fatigue so that it does not develop into chronic fatigue:
- Change your diet to energy foods, such as, proteins and stay away from carbohydrates.
- Eliminate junk and high calorie foods, including alcohol and drink at least eight glasses of water.
- Get more sleep and be disciplined about going to bed early and getting up at the same time everyday.
- Exercise more because the more you move the more energy you have and the more you sweat the more calories you are burning.
- Boost your metabolism by simply taking more vitamins and supplements that target any deficiencies that you may have.
As mentioned above, acute fatigue is normal and temporary, but if left unchecked, it may develop into long-term fatigue which is quite more serious.
- “Mental fatigue caused by prolonged cognitive load associated with sympathetic hyperactivity” – Kei Mizuno,1,2 Masaaki Tanaka,2 Kouzi Yamaguti,2 Osami Kajimoto,3Hirohiko Kuratsune,4 and Yasuyoshi Watanabe1,2 – US National Library of Medicine: NIH
- “Muscle fatigue: what, why and how it influences muscle function” – Roger M Enoka1 and Jacques Duchateau – US National Library of Medicine: NIH
- “Fatigue – Neural and Muscular Mechanisms”. – Pierce, Patricia A. Editors: Enoka, R.M., Gandevia, S.C., McComas, A.J., Stuart, D.G., Thomas, C.K. (Eds.)