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17 Feb 2004

Chronic tiredness after running
HI there. I have run most of my adult life and have encouraged my mother, aged 55, and father, the same age, to start walking every morning. They go walking 4 times a week, for aobut 40 minutes. MY dad doesnt really get tired from this walking, but my mother has complained of constant tiredness after she has gone walking. She says that she doesnt really sweat whn she goes walking (so i dont know if she is reall over exercising). She also battles to sleep at night, whilst i find that I sleep my best when I do go running.

She is taking magnesium and calcium supplements. What advice can i give her? I dont want her to stop walking! She needs the exercise and losing weight would be a good thing for her too. Please let me know
Answer 493 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi Marelize

Firstly, congratulations for actually encouraging your parents to exercise. It's a good step for them to take, and I also hope that this little obstacle does not force them to stop. It's difficult to say exactly what may be the cause of her fatigue, and I cannot rule out that something medical is to blame - there are certain conditions that can cause this fatigue, and only a doctor could identify them if this is the case. Further, it's also important to realise that diet is important, and you may be correct on this note, although I personally am sceptical that supplements are to blame. If anything, it's the protein and carbohydrate intake in her diet that is inadequate, and so I would suggest having a look at that. There's actually a very good article on the Fitness page of the Health 24 site at the moment - if you just log onto, and then click on 'Fitness', it's the leading article, titled "Enough energy to exercise", and I would suggest either reading that, or else consider consulting a dietician.

Now, on a practical note, and my personal feeling is that this is mostly to blame for her fatigue - she has started walking, having previously been inactive. Your father may also have been quite inactive, but often, men are just slightly more active than women. Men are certainly stronger than women, and may therefore have a higher degree of natural fitness (I'm generalising here, I know, but I think it's a common situation) than women. Your parents have been doing the exact same walking schedule, and your father has managed without stress. It stands to reason that your mother, who may have been a little less fit to start with, and may not be as strong, would feel the exercise a little more than your father. I would not be surprised if she is slightly overtrained. I know she is not sweating, but there may be other factors (weather, age) that cause this. I still think it is quite possible that she is training quite hard, while your father is perhaps not going as hard. now, the solution is obviously not so simple, because if your mom was to slow down, then your father would lose the impetus of his walks. Perhaps what needs to happen is that they need to reach a compromise, and he could for example, walk much faster and then turn around every few minutes, while your mom walks at her own pace. Or, they could walk together every second day, but your mom does her own thing on the other days, just until (hopefully) she adapts and can walk with him. I think that the fact that she is not sleeping is a sign that she may just be overtraining - one that you must remember is that she is older, and so a lot of it might be to do with bone density, perhaps a reduced strength of the bones etc. and this can cause unbelievable stiffness and tiredness as well.

I hope this all helps you, and keep encouraging them to exercise!
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