View Full Version : Fighting Fatigue

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02-20-2004, 02:36 AM
I'm sure my situation is not so different from many others here. I work a 9-5 IT job which requires me to focus for long hours on a computer monitor. This often leaves me feeling extremely head-tired at the end of the day. So tired sometimes that I skip Aikido to go sleep at home.

I have taken it upon myself to take more water breaks, (I dont smoke so I'm not allowed to go stand outside for 5-10 minutes at a time with the smokers) and I also go for nice long walks at lunch time but even with all of this, I still end up feeling tired often.

I dont know if its my diet or if I just need to buck up and force myself to go whether I feel like it or not, I'm scared that I might end up dreading going to Aikido instead of looking forward to it if I force myself.

Anyone with similiar issues? If so how did you overcome this?

02-20-2004, 02:44 AM

Same situation but you know I always feel great after class and that's what gets my sorry butt out of this chair.

The best cure for the brain drain is physical exercise. Sometimes I am so tried from computer work that I can't sleep easily - a little bit of Judo or Aikido and bang, when bed time roles around, I'm gone.

Clears the cobwebs.

02-20-2004, 02:58 AM
the fatigue during office hour usually is mind fatigue, not phisical fatigue. i experienced it also and the only cure for this is go out there and practice. Before training I usually stay at my car for a while, ease up my mind either by sleep or listening to music. After i relax a bit then i go to dojo and have a good time on the mat. I must admit that i'm addicted to aikido that i perceive aikido training as my stress reliever.

Chad Sloman
02-20-2004, 05:38 AM
I'm a chemist for a living, and I'm often frustrated and tired from work, but what I find helps sometimes is that if I show up at the dojo a little early (say 10-15 minutes) I'll get ready and sit in seiza on the mat and just close my eyes and practice breathing. Number 1 it helps me get used to seiza and number 2 I find it really helps me get mentally prepared for that days class as well as stress relief, although getting put on the mat after the third time pretty much relieves my stress anyways

02-20-2004, 06:10 AM
Same situation, with the addition of a near 2 hour cross country drive each way to the office (on a good trouble free drive).

When I first started, I did the same, would come home, sit down and not want to move. Started skipping the odd class, before long it was nearly 2 months between sessions. I made the conscious effort to go because I always felt better after. 12 years later I'm still going.

As Peter says, once I'm there and on the mat, I always feel better.



Ted Marr
02-20-2004, 08:33 AM
I would agree that the best answer is just to make yourself go to class, but a good supplementary is to get on the stairmaster a couple of times a week and do some really good aerobic exercise. Aikido is great, but depending on your sensei, and how you practice, it might not be terribly good exercise. Being sedentary is a good way to lower your energy levels and lead to more sedentary behavior.

02-20-2004, 10:29 AM
I find that I save myself a lot of psychological wear and tear if I don't even consider, each class night, whether I'm going or not. I just go. If my aikido is crummy from fatigue, well, it's crummy (and I will sit out the more challenging ukemi). This is a lot simpler in the long run than weighing the pros and cons, and I'm slowly finding myself less tired.

The one thing I hate is how fast I drop back out of shape if I have to travel to a meeting. I try to practice on my own but clearly it's not enough.

Mary Kaye

Jeff Tibbetts
02-20-2004, 10:40 AM
I think that, for me anyway, Aikido is what keeps me energized for the rest of the week. I work odd hours, six days a week including an all-day shift on Saturday, I go to school three days a week (plus all the homework,) and I've taken on a couple tutoring students for an hour here and there. I'm quite sure that if I didn't spend pretty much all the rest of my free time at the Dojo (two nights a week and an early bird on Saturday, before my double shift) I wouldn't be able to maintain this schedule. I almost never skip Aikido unless I have a very good reason; say my Anniversary or a huge school project. But that's rare. I make it a point to never make excuses, and so far it's been pretty good to me. I think that the centeredness I bring home from class is what helps me to focus on the task at hand. I can't imagine what I would be doing without Aikido to "bring me back home." Certainly I am physically tired often, but I am usually mentally alert and that makes a big difference.

02-20-2004, 12:14 PM
Gotta agree with everyone. I don't always want to go, but I do. I don't always want to stay and train hard, but I do. I always feel better after.

If your brain is tired, don't ask it questions you already know its too tired to answer. Just get to the dojo, get on the mat, get out of your head, get into your training, let yourself relax, breath, and have a good time.

02-20-2004, 12:48 PM
I agree with the mind fatigue. In my practice I'm trying to get my attention and mental energy to just naturally come out. It's very refreshing when you can turn off your mind a bit and just learn to move naturally.

02-20-2004, 12:56 PM
yup, tired, don't want to go, want to go see the kid and wife...go anyway.

Sometimes if my arse is really dragging I'll take a b-complex around 3:30 or so. Seems to help a little. Makes my pee violent green/yellow too, an added bonus.

02-20-2004, 01:03 PM
Drinking enough water is definitely very important. I've realized recently that there is a very big difference in how I feel when I am properly hydrated vs. dehydrated. I'm trying to cut down on the coffee (a dehydrator!) and drink more water. Helps a lot with fatigue in class.

Another thing you might want to consider: instead of taking the long walk, turn it into a run, or do a bodyweight workout on your lunch break. I don't do this enough but I've been trying to get myself to do this and it feels great when I can do it.

The exercise really clears my head and energizes me for the rest of the day.

Also, get enough sleep! :)


02-20-2004, 01:20 PM

When I read your post, I did a doubl-take thinking that maybe I posted it this morning and forgot about it ;). I think our kind are more used to quick bursts of activity followed by waiting patiently for an install to finish or an update to complete. I do find myself dreading practice, but only because I can't rest, it has nothing to do with a aikido. I think what evryone posted was right on, also I wanted to mention thta maybe meditating (at home before practice) may help you to quiet your mind and give it the break it needs. 12-15 minutes should help you to motivate yourself.

Sadly, I don't heed my own advice; but hopefully one day ;)

02-20-2004, 01:38 PM
In general, I agree with all of the "just go and train" messages. However, I'm going to offer one caveat: if you're too tired/fatigued to drive, don't do it.

There've been several instances where I've started to nod off on the way to the dojo, which is a 40-45 minute drive from my house. If I'm not getting enough sleep, and I'm worn out from work, it can be tough for me to stay alert for the drive there. On the drive back, I usually have a ton of energy.

My saving grace has been listening to books on tape from the library. They keep me interested and alert enough to drive safely. I'll also pull over and stretch my legs if I have to -- even though it seems silly to have to pull over after 20 minutes of driving. I'd rather feel silly than be in an accident.



Robert Jackson
02-20-2004, 02:02 PM
Well I'm in the exact same situtation write down to the IT. I spend my days writting code to make web sites function properly... One of the reason I joined akidio was to get to mind fatigue out of my system. It's a time where I can spend where it's better if I don't think to much and get physical. I'm exahusted when I get to class and energized when I leave. The exercise helps alot.

02-20-2004, 03:49 PM
I think our kind are more used to quick bursts of activity followed by waiting patiently for an install to finish or an update to complete.
Suggestion: take that time while waiting for the computer to finish and drop down and do 10 pushups. Or some squats. Or stretch your hamstrings (mine always are tight as rubberbands after sitting in front of the computer all day).

Not that I always take my advice, but it's something I'm trying to work towards.


02-20-2004, 05:04 PM
My last Sensei was a Liutenent Coronel of the Italian Army and also a Doctor, when he left the army he went to work in a hospital and sometimes he arrived to teach after 2 days without sleeping and when he putted on his Hakama, he gain energy out of nowhere, in fact when he didn't splet for a few days and then teach us at the dojo he had more energy than others days when had the time to sleep.... shame on me but I liked best when he was tyred because he did the techniques twice as powerfull than used to hehehe.

Ian Williams
02-24-2004, 05:08 PM
have you had your eyes checked lately??? eye strain can be a major cause of fatigue and tension, especially with people that spend large numbers of hours a day in front of a monitor.

Mark Jakabcsin
02-24-2004, 05:45 PM
I recommend checking out some of Scott Sonnon's writing's and a video he does call 'Be Breathed'. These simple exercises and breathing patterns seem corny at first but have really helped to increase my energy level. Whenever I am feeling tired I do some of the work he suggests and feel better immediately. About 10 minutes of his breathing/exercises and I feel much better.

Note, the breathing pattern can be done anywhere, anytime, anyplace. I fly a good deal and do the breathing while I am on the plane. The exercises that go along with the breathing help but are not practical in all situations. I find simply doing the breathing is a big plus when I can't do the full blown thing. In your job I would think doing 2 or 3 minutes of breathing every time you take a water break would go a long way.

Scott also has a several articles writen about performance breathing. In short, when we work out we generally don't adjust our breathing until our muscles are already fatigued and in a deficit. By then it is to late and we are trying to play catch-up. Scott has tons to say about this and says it far better then I ever could so if you are intersted check out his stuff. You can do a google search with his name to find his web-site. Or search 'circular strength training forum'. I believe either of those will work. Enjoy.


02-25-2004, 12:38 AM

I'm self employed and because of my wife's early shifts I often sit working at the computer for 12 hours before I have to get my stuff ready for aikido.

it sometimes takes its toll. There are days when I am actually exhausted, mainly through lack of sleep and on those days I dont turn up to training because if I tend to get thrashed around the mat and if my mind and body are both half a second behind the technique then I will get hurt.

But, most of the time it is just mental exhaustion from working such long hours at the computer, on those days I go to aikido. on those days I need to go to aikido just to get clear of work for a while.

to stop the code running through my head and as many people say clear the cobwebs.

A few things that help me get through the long days at the computer are things like you mention. Such as drinking more water, I try to keep myself fully hydrated.

I also focus on my posture when sitting at work, it is very easy to just slump down while you are using the keyboard and this effects you mentally, it also effects your breathing and how much oxygen is getting pumped around your body.

when you are slouching (sp?) breathing tends to become shallow and not as many breaths are taken in every minute.

if you focus on sitting correctly then your diaphragm works properly and you dont feel so exhausted at the end of the day.

but anyway, I would recommend going to aikido after a days work if it is exhaustion from working at a computer rather than exhaustion from lack of sleep

Kevin Masters
03-01-2004, 09:53 AM
I have to throw in my "me too" on this one. After a long day of staring at my monitor my excuse engine kicks into high gear.

However if I ignore my instinct to go home and play video games with my son (why my lazy self wants to spend MORE time in front of a crt I don't know) after class I feel really great.

So yeah, buck up. :D

Deb Fisher
03-05-2004, 07:12 PM
Yeah, get up and do something during the day. This helps me whenever I am doing sedentary work--whenever I get forgetful or am unable to get up a few times a day to do about 5 minutes of light exercise, I suffer from terrible intertia.

Just to wax philosophical, I do think this is more about the nature of sedentary work (intertia-producing) and less to do with "mind draining" work, if only because any kind of sedentary work does this to me, even being asked to sit at a desk and read a magazine all day (in fact, I find this much more tiring than doing actual tasks).

Whatever--I just switched from sedentary day-job to an active one, and am thinking a lot about how much better I feel in general. I don't think bodies are meant to sit still for so long...

...she types as she stares at her monitor...