Regular cardio exercise can help you shed a few pounds or preserve your current body, but feeling excessively fatigued after you unlace your running shoes can be detrimental. If your workout leaves you sluggish and sleepy, you'll feel less inclined to break a sweat the next day, and your overall health can suffer. Instead, take the proper steps before, during and after your workout to avoid feeling tired.
Load Up on the Right Food
Performing a cardio workout on a full stomach isn't ideal, nor is exercising on an empty stomach. Instead, prepare your body for the workout ahead by eating a light meal or snack one to two hours before you plan to exercise. The meal or snack should be high in carbs to provide energy for your upcoming workout. Examples of snacks that are easy to consume when you're on the go include fresh fruit, yogurt and oatmeal.
Drink, Drink and Drink Some More
Proper hydration is integral to any workout, but you shouldn't just start sipping water once you set out on your jog or bike ride. Drink water consistently throughout the day as you prepare for your cardio workout and stay hydrated during the exercise to lessen the risk of muscle fatigue and dehydration. If your cardio lasts up to an hour, drink between 3 and 8 ounces of water every 15 or 20 minutes for the duration of the workout. If you plan to exercise for more than 60 minutes, drink 3 to 8 ounces of a sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes.
Upping the tempo of your run or swim can increase the activity's calorie burn, but also lead to fatigue. Learn how to pace yourself so you'll not only finish the workout without being fatigued, but you also won't feel excessively tired in the hours that follow. Doing so will get easier the more you exercise. For example, if your daily cardio workout consists of a 3-mile jog, track how long it takes you to complete the distance. Then, use a watch to monitor your time during subsequent jogs and ensure you stay on track. Additionally, if you aren't ready for an hour-long jog, try four 15-minute jogs instead.
Fuel Your Body
While the proper nutrition before your workout can help you avoid fatigue and muscle pain, eating correctly after exercising is also important. You don't necessarily have to sit down for a meal after your cardio, but endeavor to eat at least a snack after exercising. Carbs and protein are ideal -- consider such foods as fruit, sweet potatoes, chicken, fish or supplement shakes that contain carbs and protein.
- Hospital for Special Surgery: Tips for Avoiding Muscle Fatigue When Exercising
- The Globe and Mail: What's the Best Snack to Eat Before a Workout?
- American College of Sports Medicine: Selecting and Effectively Using Hydration for Fitness
- Military.com: Prevent Fatigue During PFT
- Ben Greenfield Fitness: 8 Post-Workout Snacks -- “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things”
- Human Kinetics: How to Recover After Hard Cardio