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.
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!
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.
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.
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.