Sluggish Feeling During Exercise May Not Be The End
A sluggish feeling of fatigue starts to kick in mid-workout or during your run. You can’t seem to face even thinking of pushing through until the end because the sluggish feeling is so strong. This happens often to most people, even elite athletes. The sluggish feeling can suddenly hit you even when you’ve prepared yourself to conquer a gruelling workout or long run.
If you exercise regularly then you are probably familiar with this strange sensation. It tends to happen when you’ve given your workout all you’ve got and then, BAM. Your legs get really heavy and sore and the energy feels like it’s being sucked out of your body. Then something really weird happens. The body basically flicks a switch and releases a new burst of energy. Instead of feeling sluggish, you forget you were exhausted altogether. This is a little bit confusing. But it’s basically the body’s energy back up kicking in before you begin to fade. You might have heard the phrase before, but athletes and fitness persons call this a ‘second wind.’ That’s why you should not give up when you’re feeling sluggish at the beginning of your run or workout because it will disappear.
Sluggish Feeling To Feeling Energetic Explained
If you are still unsure about what we’re talking about here, then let me explain further. This phenomenon is the sensation you get when you start exercising and you get a sluggish feeling. However, if you push through it for another two to three minutes, a sudden burst of energy hits you. We want to know why this happens. Interestingly, researchers aren’t sure exactly why this happens because it’s hard to study. There also isn’t enough evidence behind the idea that this happens for physiological reasons.
According to a British Journal of Sports Medicine blog, there are some theories about why the ‘second wind’ after the sluggish feeling kicks in. One of the hypothesis is that your body is switching from burning carbohydrates to fat. However, this is not necessarily the truth because there are a few holes in the theory. There are other experts who think the ‘second wind’ might have to do with lactic acid and oxygen in your muscles. Studies show that chemical lactic acid requires less oxygen to power your muscles than other sources of fuel. Moreover, when you have a build-up of lactic acid in the muscles, you might be able to go harder and feel less pain than normal.
Sports scientists explained that you might tell everyone that you suddenly got your ‘second wind’ after the sluggish feeling. However, you started to use huge amounts of lactic acid. This requires less oxygen for energy, and your blood becomes less acidic which is why you were able to run faster again.
Sluggish Feeling To Runners High
A lot of scientists believe that the ‘second wind’ also hugely has to do with the athlete’s mentality. Some believe that the sluggish feeling turning into a sudden burst of energy has to do with your neurochemicals. This is very similar to the concept of a ‘runner’s high.’ Scientists have been doing studies on this for years. According to Mayo Clinic, runner’s high might have to do with a physical activity triggering a release of endorphins, or your brain’s ‘feel-good neurotransmitters.’ This then suppresses your perception of effort and pain.
There is also another study that evaluated the runner’s high theory using rodents. The study found that the rodents who ran on a wheel managed to activate their ‘endocannabinoid system’ and increased their endorphin levels. Therefore, that sudden burst of energy near the end of your cycling class might have to do with either or both of these things happening.
Overall, when you go on a run or cycle, endorphins are released later in a run.
You won’t experience them in the first 10 to 20 minutes when most people experience their second wind. So is it endorphins that cause the ‘second wind?’ Maybe, but maybe not. It’s possible that small amounts of endorphins may be released early on and might play a role in the ‘second wind.’ The sluggish feeling tends to disappear fairly quickly if you push through the first few minutes of your workout or run.
Is The Sluggish Feeling A Mental Choice?
You could be legitimately tired and might need the rest. But a lot of the time it’s a mindset and you just need a little push to get your body going again. Joey Foley, the co-founder of New York City’s Punch Pedal House and a former D1 football player, says it has to do with being motivated by the environment you’re in. Foley says group fitness is fantastic because you have the energy of the person next to you to keep you motivated. This automatically gives you some more motivation and gives you the energy to take it to the next level.
Interestingly, a lot of trainers like Foley have maximised this ‘second wind’element to boost their businesses. Foley designed classes that will ideally help you hit a second wind and then a third wind with HIIT-like intervals bringing your heart rate up and back down. He adds that external factors can also help you get into a mental state where you can push through into a second wind. Those might include a particularly inspiring instructor, the lighting in the room you’re getting sweaty in, your lifestyle habits or even what you ate before your workout. These can all influence your experience during exercise.