Exercise Fights Fatigue, Boosts Energy
Regular Exercise Better at Upping Energy Than Stimulants, Study Shows
WebMD News Archive
Nov. 3, 2006 -- Feeling tired? A walk may be better than a nap for boosting
energy and fighting fatigue.
New research suggests regular exercise can increase energy levels even among
people suffering from chronic medical conditions associated with fatigue, like
cancer and heart disease.
It may seem counterintuitive, but researchers say expending energy by
engaging in regular exercise may pay off with increased energy in the long
"A lot of times when people are fatigued, the last thing they want to do
is exercise," says researcher Patrick O'Connor, PhD, in a news release.
"But if you're physically inactive and fatigued, being just a bit more
active will help," says O'Connor, co-director of the University of Georgia
exercise psychology laboratory, in Athens, Ga.
"We live in a society where people are always looking for the next
sports drink, energy bar, or cup of coffee that will give them the extra edge
to get through the day," says researcher Tim Puetz, PhD, also of UGA.
"But it may be that lacing up your tennis shoes and getting out and doing
some physical activity every morning can provide that spark of energy that
people are looking for."
Exercise Boosts Energy
Although many studies have shown that sedentary people who start a regular
exercise program experience an increase in energy levels, researchers say few
studies have quantified those effects.
In this study, published in Psychological Bulletin, the researchers analyzed
70 studies on exercise and fatigue involving more than 6,800 people.
"More than 90% of the studies showed the same thing: Sedentary people
who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to
groups that did not exercise," says O'Connor. "It's a very consistent
The results show that regular exercise increases energy and reduces
The average effect was greater than the improvement from using stimulant
medications, including ones used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD) and narcolepsy.
Researchers say nearly every group studied -- from healthy adults, to cancer
patients, and those with chronic conditions including diabetes and heart disease -- benefited from