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Fatigue, cognitive and excercise

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  • Fatigue, cognitive and excercise

    Hi everyone,

    I searched the forum regarding the relationship of fatigue and cognitive function and exercise and couldn't find the answer I was looking for. There are a lot of studies linking exercise to improvements with fatigue and cognitive function. I'm just wondering whether if anyone is experiencing this as a short term cause and effect?

    The reason why I'm asking is that I'm trying to identify a pattern between my exercise routine and fatigue. I'm lucky to be able to exercise. I exercise almost every day (except for mondays) and about 8-10 hours a week. Mostly aerobic exercise: running, cycling, swimming.

    I've noticed that if I go a couple of days without exercising, I get more fatigued. You know... like most things with MS, emmm I think that's the pattern.

    Last Sunday, I ran a half marathon and have been resting most of the week since and have been very fatigued and having issues thinking. It's not physical fatigue but head fatigue. I've been taking naps once or twice every day, etc.

    So, I'm wondering could it be the lack of exercise? Or is it because I pushed hard during the half marathon? I'm lucky to be able to run regularly and I usually run more than a half marathon every Sunday. During the race, the intensity was much higher. And as planned, the following week was a rest week to rest my legs. So could it be that short term. Is the rest the cause for that fatigue?

    BTW, I did have MS symptoms during the race. The last 5 kilometers, my vision went more and more blurry but came back to normal after I cooled down.

  • #2
    Excellent question RR, I've experienced the same things you mentioned and I haven't seen any science that addressed it either, not in the MS nor the sports physiology literature. However, I doubt it has anything to do with the MS but is more likely a normal metabolic response to the physical demands, or lack of, being placed on the body. As a professional trainer once told me, "The human body is the ONLY machine that improves with use", the reverse implication being that the body deteriorates if it's not used. Having said that though, I can see how the MS related Head Fatigue could be the result of some overstimulated neural activity of damaged neurons as a result of the exceptionally harder run at the event.

    Here's another one which Teena Marie has also mentioned. I've frequently noticed that once or twice a year it takes me anywhere from two to six weeks to really recover front a long training stint and that I seem to be able to get stronger and perform better after one of those extended recovery periods. Never seen any literature on that one either but suspect it may be more of an age related phenomenon although again, possibly with some effect from damaged neural material.

    You're obviously a serious sports enthusiast, I'd be interested in what you think.



    • #3
      My uneducated understanding of the short term benefit of exercising is similar to when I workout late in the evening and it's difficult then to go to sleep in the next couple of hours. My metabolism and mind are still racing. I guess that the same hormones responsible to get the mind going are probably working with fatigue and cognitive problems: dopamine, epinephrine, endorphins?

      As for the recovery, I haven't seen a long recovery period needed unless I have done a long hard event (more than 3-4 hours). But I would have the recovery in my plans, obviously. And yes, I would be physically tired. I usually do periodization in my training to have an easy week (no intensity) every three to four weeks. But appart from this, I unfortunately don't have too much experience as I've only had my first episode two years ago and the fatigue has been a problem since only about a year ago. It has increased at the end of last summer and I'm still trying to make sense of it.