Fitness Fun & Facts: Why am I so sore and tired?

Female & male chemistry can have an effect on how you are feeling after a workout!

According to common sense and science, physical activity is good for you.  With so many studies and opinions about the best type of exercise, it can be confusing.  The bottom line is you have to pick what works for you. 

It is a common fallacy that soreness after a workout means that you have had a good workout. Some soreness is expected, especially if you haven’t used muscles in a while. But, if you are overly sore and tired after working out, you might need to take it down a notch or even choose a different mode of exercise.

Men and women have different body chemistry, particularly in the middle years (i.e. 40 – 60).   Defining those differences in detail is beyond the scope of this post.  However, the following briefly describes the effects of these changes as a result of too much or not enough exercise.

Men’s testosterone levels begin to decline after about age 30. As men age, low testosterone can cause fatigue, mood swings, loss of muscle mass, and increased body fat, among other things. Physical activity and exercise can help boost testosterone. However, symptoms of over training can cause and also mimic symptoms of low testosterone – such as fatigue, excess muscle soreness, depression, insatiable thirst to name a few.  If your workouts are high intensity, and high frequency, and you notice any of these symptoms, you might need to scale back your workouts. If you are not exercising much and experience some of these symptoms, it is possible that an appropriate exercise program will help. 

Women experience peri-menopause and menopause (both terms will be referred to hereon as menopause) which can start in the early 40’s.  The average age of natural menopause is 52. 

There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the intensity and the frequency of exercise (studies can be provided), the better the health benefits. However, women experiencing menopausal symptoms who are used to higher intensity exercise may find that their bodies have difficulty recovering from them. Their bodies are trying to cope with the menopausal symptoms (i.e. fatigue, hot sweats, mood swings, etc.), and adding the stress of a high intensity workout is just too much.  There could be a lack of desire to exercise that develops, as a result, indicating a need to scale back the intensity.  For more information, a good article can be found here.  

If you participate in exercise classes or work with a trainer, let them know if you are feeling this way, whether a man or woman, and they can adjust your workout accordingly. 

This post is not meant to help you diagnose symptoms that you may have but rather to raise awareness of possible causes for excess discomfort after your workouts.  You should check with your physician when you have symptoms that concern you!