Signs of Physical Exhaustion

Physical exhaustion develops as a normal response to overexertion or not adequately resting between periods of physical activity. No matter the cause, physical exhaustion is a serious condition that should not be overlooked. Rest and recovery help you recover from exhaustion.

Man looking physically exhausted at the gym.
Credit: XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images

Unusual Fatigue

Although tiredness and fatigue occur after you've exerted yourself, you may be experiencing an increased level of fatigue. If you notice a significant drop in energy levels, then you may be experiencing physical exhaustion. Your body's depleted energy stores are causing you to feel tired, indicating a need to recover and refuel before being physically active again.

Constant Muscle Aching

Physical exertion, especially if playing a contact sport, results in muscle aching, but aches and pains generally go away after a day or two of recovery. The short-term aching indicates that your muscles have been pushed strenuously and are physically exhausted, giving you an indication to stop and recover. Constant or chronic aching throughout your body indicates physical exhaustion, which may be caused when you push your body to perform without allowing time for muscle recovery and repletion of energy stores.

Mental Difficulty

When your body is exhausted, you may start to feel confused or experience coordination problems. When fuel sources are low, your brain is not receiving adequate fuel which results in decreased mental acuity. Athletes, especially endurance ones, may have trouble walking in a straight line or become easily confused when they are physically exhausted.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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