Fatigue and how to fight it by my own means

Fatigue may be a normal response generated by lack of energy, excess stress, imbalance in the application of loads, lack of sleep or inadequate nutrition or fluid and electrolyte balance.<br><br>This fatigue may be the cause of a series of injuries (muscular, bone and tendon) or diseases (metabolic or nervous). This will take us; to reduce our adaptive capacity (what we can improve by training), to have to reduce the training load or, in the worst case, to suspend sports practice.<br><br>That is why one of the main objectives when programming, giving feedback and correcting a training plan, will be to modulate fatigue. Not only with the workloads themselves, but also with all the other components that can affect the athlete, such as sleep, diet, hydration, and recovery techniques. These last ones we will focus on today.<br><br>First, we will have to divide fatigue into central and peripheral. Depending on the technique we use, it will help us to modulate both or one more than the other.<br><br>Central fatigue can be defined as one that presents an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system with a hyperactivation of the sympathetic system and a depression of the parasympathetic system. Also like any action that results in neuronal detriment that affects muscle contraction. On the other hand, peripheral fatigue is that structural (protein) or metabolic deterioration that can be detrimental to optimal muscle performance. Both types of fatigue can lead to partial or total claudication from exercise.
<strong>Active recovery:</strong> Without a doubt, it is the technique that has more evidence in favor and greater beneficial effects to modulate fatigue. This consists of continuing the sports activity at a very low intensity for a period that usually ranges between 3 and 10 minutes. In this, a supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues is maintained, favoring the start of the processes of filling the glycogen reserves and the reduction of the “oxygen debt”. Also, by maintaining a light muscle contraction, it will act as a musculoskeletal pump, which will favor the removal of residual substances from exercise so that they are recycled in the liver and can be used again as energy. In addition, so that the totally residual ones can be eliminated in the kidney.<br><br><strong>Stretching:</strong> Although it has been one of the most investigated techniques, it has been difficult for studies to demonstrate its efficiency. From the theory it seems too clear to break those actin and myosin bridges resulting from repeated or sustained contractions of high intensity typical of sports practice. It has been shown that the use of this technique prior to competition or high-intensity training can be counterproductive and even be a risk factor for injury. But with all the above we do not seek to present stretching as something negative, on the contrary it is a healthy practice that despite how difficult it has been for studies to demonstrate its efficiency if they have been clear that their POST exercise practice does not generate any risk if it is practiced within the appropriate parameters. In addition, it can generate a subjective feeling of well-being and health in the athlete that in the long term could translate into increased performance or at least ensure the maintenance of a fundamental physical capacity for functionality in our daily activities and sports.<br><br><strong>Hydro and Cryotherapy:</strong> Both are techniques that today are applied by hundreds of people in the world, but as such are not considered recovery techniques. These should be considered as therapeutic means for the treatment of injuries, which is why we do not recommend their application in the normal training process.<br><br><strong>Cryo immersion:</strong> This technique has spread and gained a lot of popularity within the fitness and sports world during the last 5 years. The reality is that most studies that review the continuous and long-term application of cryo immersion during the training process do not record good results. On the contrary, they have shown a decrease in the adaptive capacity on strength and hypertrophy. On the other hand, the acute application in strength or speed sports during competition has shown a maintenance of strength on consecutive days of competition by reducing the inflammation present in the muscles.<br><br><strong>Press therapy:</strong> It is a technique whereby means of the pressure of some air chambers the muscle is squeezed, the lymph or the blood is mobilized seeking to displace the waste substances. In addition to the decrease in muscle pain due to the gate theory and the rupture of actin and myosin cross-bridges that have been irregularly established by sports practice. Depending on the pressure, we can look for lymphatic (minimum pressure), vascular (medium pressure) or muscular (high pressure) benefits. It is always suggested that it be prescribed by a health professional trained in the subject. Within this therapeutic modality we also have compression stockings, which will be very useful in transfers between different stages or trips where the sitting position is predominant, such as a plane trip. This will prevent fluids from accumulating in the lower limbs due to lack of mobility. It will also be important to remember that the use of these stockings is not recommended when the athlete is lying down or with their feet elevated, since they can generate a certain increase in peripheral vascular resistance, increasing the work of the heart muscle.<br><br><strong>Electrotherapy:</strong> More than a technique, we would be talking about a series of techniques with different therapeutic purposes where you can look for anything from greater motor recruitment or pain therapy to recovery. For its proper application, knowledge of the athlete’s anatomy, palpation and observation will be essential. For this reason, we do not recommend self-application without the supervision of a professional or at least the athlete’s training in the use of the device and its application method. Said training, to be efficient and safe, must comply with the device to be used, the anatomy and form of application, the intensity and mode of the current to be implemented, the situations in which its use is recommended and in which it is not recommended, and the warning signs against which its use should be discontinued.<br><br><strong>Self-massage and myofascial release:</strong> For this blog to be useful for all our users, we will leave myofascial release, which has a more complex aspect, in the hands of the professionals in charge and we will focus on self-massage. It will be important that we do it in a direction (distal – proximal) with a “comfortable” pressure that does not cause great pain and achieves a perception of relaxation. Starting with a rub or light contact of the hand with the skin or the massage instrument such as a semi-soft ball or a foam roller. Then increase the intensity of the massage for about 6 to 12 minutes and finish again with a rub in the area. Although it has been difficult for science to demonstrate the physiological efficiency of these treatments, the perception of pleasure and reduction of muscular pain in athletes has been verified and therefore it will be enough to recommend it, since it does not generate any potential damage since the parameters of security.<br> <br>Note: If you suffer from any exceptional health condition such as cardiovascular, coagulation, venous thrombosis, or similar problems, it is recommended not to apply these techniques and consult a doctor first.<br><br>Note 2: In healthy and asymptomatic cyclists, avoid excessive release of the iliotibial band, which usually acts as a stabilizer of pelvic tilt.<br><br> <br>Written by Pablo Pulido – Methodological director of Threshold Experst S.A.S.<br>Based on the conference given by Paula Álvarez – Physiotherapist and trainer of Threshold Experts S.A.S.

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