Training with neurofatigue: Tips to help you achieve your fitness goals

I’m often asked how I manage to train whilst still suffering from many of the effects of my brain tumour surgery, in particular neurofatigue. In this article, I hope to share some of my experience and what I’ve learnt along the way.

Living with neurofatigue can be challenging, especially when it comes to exercising and training. That said, with the right approach, it is still possible to achieve your fitness goals.

Total shutdown as neurofatigue kicked in during LEJOG

Listen to your body

It’s really important to listen to your body when training with neurofatigue. Pushing yourself too hard can exacerbate symptoms and cause setbacks. If you feel fatigued or experience any other symptoms, take a break and rest. It’s better to take a break and come back stronger, than to push yourself to the point of exhaustion. However, I do still ask myself the question, “Do I really feel this bad?” There are days when I feel absolutely awful, but once I get outside and moving, I actually start to feel a little better. I always attempt to do the session, but if after 10 mins I’m still feeling garbage, I’ll bin the workout knowing tomorrow is a new day.

I’ve learnt the hard way that beating myself up over these days is just as detrimental, if not more so, than giving myself a break. It’s a waste of energy that I don’t have and achieves nothing. Don’t be afraid to make changes now and then – just don’t let it become a bad habit or an excuse to not bother!

Pace yourself

Pacing yourself is key when training with neurofatigue. Start slowly and gradually increase your intensity and duration. Over time, you will build up your endurance and stamina and be able to handle more. Remember, progress is progress, no matter how small it may seem.

Pacing myself – staying in the green!

Find the right time

Finding the right time to train is important when living with neurofatigue. Everyone’s journey is different, so you need to find what works best for you. Some people may find that morning workouts work best for them, while others may prefer to exercise in the afternoon or evening. Experiment and find what works best for you. Personally, I prefer morning sessions. By the end of the day, I’m not fit for much and that’s when I have to think about the kind of exercise I’m going to do. That brings me to the next point…

Choose the right exercise

Choosing the right exercise is important when training with neurofatigue. Low impact exercise, such as yoga, swimming and cycling, can be easier on the body and help reduce fatigue. Strength training can also be beneficial as it can help build muscle and improve overall fitness. Don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit. There are days when I feel like I have absolutely nothing in the tank, certainly not enough for a run (in fact, I feel a bit like this today) but I can still complete a short yoga session towards the end of the day.

Choose the exercise that works best for you.

Celebrate your progress

Finally, it’s important to celebrate your progress when training with neurofatigue. Remember, everyone’s journey is different and progress may feel like it’s taking a while. But, progress is progress no matter how small it may seem. Go celebrate your achievements and keep on pushing forward.

I’ve found that training with neurofatigue can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By listening to your body, pacing yourself, finding the time that works best for you, choosing the right exercise and celebrating your success, you can achieve your fitness goals.

Just remember to be kind to yourself and take one day at a time.

Celebrate your achievements… but keep moving forward!

Published by Sara C

It's hugely important to raise more awareness of brain tumours and the implications they can have on patients' lives. I aim to help to create wider understanding of the effects brain surgery and a diagnosis can have on an individual and their families on a emotive level through my own experience.

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