What does 'tired' feel like?

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Well-known member
Aug 10, 2010
I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve. I didn't know it. My family didn't know it. My P.E. teachers didn't know it.

When I had to run - a mile, two miles, or even a 440 meter lap, I knew tired -- my heart was pumping rapidly, I had pain in my left chest, and I was out of breath. I was sweating a lot. After a while, my pulse and respiration returned to normal. To me, the symptoms that I was feeling WERE normal - I figured that everyone else felt the same way. The coaches thought I was lazy. They wanted me to push harder. What did I know? What we feel IS normal - until you learn that it's not.

I used to get SVTs - tachychardia - although I knew that this wasn't normal, it didn't usually last long. The doctors at the time weren't too concerned about it. When I had my mechanical aortic valve put in, I thought this would fix the SVTs, but it didn't. I even had one or two SVT episodes while in the hospital.

Last week, I had an ablation -- it knocked out two areas in my heart that cause SVTs and another arrythmia - which leads me to this question -- when do you know that you've exercised enough? How do you know when you should stop your physical activies? What does it feel like? Is this just shortness of breath? Is it hitting your target heart rate? What are the signs and symptoms that you feel when you've physically reached (or approached) your maximum limits?

This isn't a trick question. I really want to know.



VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Apr 3, 2020
That’s a deep but interesting question, especially when you link it to an example like yours. You describe that you sometimes consider things to be normal when they really aren’t because comparing experiences between people is difficult. Are you underperforming because your level of fitness/training is simply lower than someone else’s or because you have an actual physiological abnormality...interesting thought. I almost always gradually increase work-out intensity and when I max out, with running up a sandy dune or with HITT or even that last set playing squash, almost always the ‘tiredness’ is like a total body experience where those extra steps, squats or sprint for the ball become impossible, not just out of breath but also the strength is gone. But then, no matter how tired you are when you stop, you should be comfortable and a good thing to monitor is your ‘revovery’. A good indicator is the drop of your heart rate in the first minute after stopping your excercise (stand or walk, don’t sit and do continue cooling down afterwards). If it is more than 30 bpm than you are in good shape. Less than 20 is considered poor shape.