Have you been feeling tired and “run down” lately?
Believe it or not, a simple walk may be better than a nap for boosting energy and fighting fatigue.
Recent studies suggests that regular exercise can actually increase energy levels, even among people suffering from chronic medical conditions associated with fatigue, such as cancer and heart disease. Contrary to popular belief, researchers say expending energy by engaging in regular exercise may pay off with increased levels of energy in the long run.
“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, who is the co-director of the exercise psychology laboratory at the University of Georgia 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 with the University of Georgia. “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
Over the years, many studies have shown that sedentary people who start a regular exercise program experience an increase in energy levels, although researchers say few studies have quantified those effects.
In this current study, which has been 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… That sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to groups that did not exercise,” O’Connor comments. “It’s a very consistent effect.”
The results show that regular exercise increases energy and reduces fatigue.
It was shown that the average effect was greater than the improvement from using stimulant medications, which included the ones being used for ‘attention deficit hyperactivity disorder’ (ADHD) as well as narcolepsy.
Researchers claim that nearly every group that was studied — from healthy adults — to cancer patients — and even those with such chronic conditions as diabetes and heart disease — actually benefited from exercise.
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