Exercise vs. fatigue – who wins?

You’re wiped-out and dog-tired, and it feels like a long nap is the only thing that could revive you from this fatigue. But new research shows just the opposite – some regular exercise may be the boost that you really need.

“I’m exhausted!” It’s one of the most common health symptom, and can be a sign of a medical problem. However many people suffer from fatigue that isn’t linked to a medical condition. It doesn’t matter if it’s caused by stress, lifestyle habits or not enough good sleep, new research shows that regular, low-intensity exercise may help increase your energy levels.

Testing how to beat fatigue

University of Georgia researchers studied whether exercise can be used to treat fatigue. Using 36 volunteers who were not regular exercisers but who complained of persistent fatigue, they posed certain tests:

  1. The first group of volunteers was engaged in low-intensity aerobic exercise for the same time period. This low-intensity exercise was the same as a leisurely, easy walk.
  2. The second group was prescribed 20 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise three times a week for six weeks. This more intense exercise was similar to a fast-paced walk up a hill.
  3. The third control group did not exercise.

Regular low-intensity exercise was the winner!

The first prize from this research was that both exercise groups experienced a 20% increase in their energy levels, compared to no increase from the control group.

However, this was the surprising result: more intense exercise isn’t the best way to reduce fatigue. The group engaged in low-intensity exercise reported a massive 65% drop in feelings of fatigue, compared to a 49% drop from the group doing more intense exercise.

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Here’s our take-away from this research: if you’re battling with constant fatigue that’s unrelated to a medical condition, take yourself for that walk or swim every day. Factor it into your schedule, just like you do with meetings or meals. It’s going to boost your energy, help you to sleep and blow away the fatigue.

 

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/29/the-cure-for-exhaustion-more-exercise/?_r=0