Are you feeling exhausted when you hit the gym? Are you frustrated you cannot lift the weights that were once a cinch? You are not getting weaker. These annoying symptoms could be signs you are suffering from central nervous system fatigue. Here’s what you need to know about CNS fatigue.
The Role of the CNS
Before we get onto the topic of CNS fatigue, you need to understand what area of the body it affects. The CNS is shorthand for the brain and the spinal cord. These two organs of our body work in sync to control almost everything we experience, including our thoughts, feelings, and movements, as well as physiological things such as our breathing, heart rate, and body temperature.
As you might imagine, the CNS is of particular interest to researchers because it is the control center of our bodies. Although this organ system has been already studied in depth, scientists and experts all know there is more to know about it. There are still functions of the CNS that nobody understands yet. You might say that it is still a bit of a mystery.
What Is CNS Fatigue?
You have likely heard of CNS fatigue before, but what does it actually mean? It is not as complex as it sounds. When you are suffering from CNS fatigue, you struggle to engage certain muscles. You may feel physically able to complete tasks (e.g. your training program), but CNS fatigue prevents you from doing so.
This is your body’s way of protecting itself when it is not 100% ready to cope with anything too strenuous. The condition is most likely to occur when you overtrain or injure yourself. In fact, CNS fatigue is associated with prolonged exercise or overtraining, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Causes of CNS Fatigue
There is little research into what causes CNS fatigue. One study suggested that a deficiency in carbohydrates and prolonged workouts in hot places could contribute to its onset. The reason behind this could be both of these challenges present a serious struggle for the brain and the body. Therefore, should you fail to give your body the recovery time it needs, it may cause residual fatigue.
Another study suggested that neurotransmitters play a major role in the condition. You may have heard of serotonin and dopamine, which are the neurotransmitters that regulate your mood and behavior. A sudden boost in serotonin levels and a decrease in dopamine levels have been reported to be associated with CNS fatigue.
How to Deal With CNS Fatigue
Schedule Your Training
As we have already mentioned, because excessive training can lead to CNS fatigue, one of the most obvious solutions is to schedule your training properly. Regular recovery days are essential to both your program and your well-being. Speak with your coach and make sure the regime you have works for your lifestyle and physical abilities.
Avoid Unnecessary Stress
Are you feeling stressed out? Stress could be contributing to your CNS fatigue. Your body needs to be firing on all cylinders so you can properly recover. Try to eliminate any stress you have in your life. Of course, that is not always possible, but avoid situations that cause you unnecessary stress or anxiety. You could also try meditating, getting better sleep, and taking regular breaks from work to help.
Eat a Nutritional Diet
You do not need to be an expert to understand your diet is intrinsically linked to your health. Make sure the food you are eating is nutritionally balanced and you are giving your body the best chance of recovery. Again, this may be something you will want to discuss with your coach or doctor.
Get Some Rest
If you are worried you are suffering from CNS fatigue, one of the best things you can do for yourself is get some rest. Should the problem continue for longer than a few days, you should consult a medical professional. Now, go and get some downtime.