Physical Activity and Feelings of Energy and Fatigue
- 825 Downloads
Approximately 20% of adults worldwide report persistent fatigue. Physical activity is a healthful behaviour that has promise for combating feelings of fatigue and low energy. This article summarises the epidemiological literature that examined the association between physical activity and feelings of energy and fatigue. Twelve population-based studies conducted between January 1945 and February 2005 that concurrently measured physical activity and feelings of energy and fatigue were located. All of the studies suggested that there was an association between physical activity and a reduced risk of experiencing feelings of low energy and fatigue when active adults were compared with sedentary peers (odds ratio = 0.61; 95% CI 0.52, 0.72). The effect was heterogeneous and varied according to study design and the energy/fatigue measure used in the study. Because epidemiological comparisons cannot establish direction of causality, standard criteria for evaluating strength of evidence in epidemiological studies (i.e. strength of association, temporal sequence, consistency, dose response and biological plausibility) were used to judge whether the observed association between physical activity and feelings of energy and fatigue suggest causality in the absence of adequate experimental evidence. There was agreement among the studies suggesting a strong, consistent, temporally appropriate dose-response relationship between physical activity and feelings of energy and fatigue. No compelling evidence has confirmed any plausible biological mechanisms that explain the apparent protective effect of physical activity against feelings of low energy and fatigue. Nonetheless, the epidemiological evidence is sufficiently strong to justify better controlled prospective cohort studies and randomised controlled trials.
KeywordsPhysical Activity Physical Inactivity Leisure Time Physical Activity Temporal Sequence Biological Plausibility
The author would like to thank Derek Hales, Patrick O’Connor and Rod Dishman for their assistance in preparing this manuscript.
No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The author has no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.
- 2.Wessely S, Hotopf M, Sharpe M. Chronic fatigue and its syndromes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998Google Scholar
- 10.Ware J. SF-36 Health Survey manual and interpretation guide. Lincoln (RI): Quality Metric, 2000Google Scholar
- 13.Wagner AK, Gandek B, Aaronson NK, et al. Cross-cultural comparisons of the content of SF-36 translations across 10 countries: results from the IQOLA Project. International Quality of Life Assessment. J Clin Epidemiol 1998; 51 (11): 925–32Google Scholar
- 25.Eriksen W, Bruusgaard D. Do physical leisure time activities prevent fatigue? A 15 month prospective study of nurses’ aides. Br J Sports Med 2004; 38 (3): 331–6Google Scholar
- 27.Lipsey MW, Wilson DB. Practical meta-analysis. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications, 2001Google Scholar
- 29.US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical activity and health: a report of the Surgeon General. Washington, DC: USDHHS, 1996Google Scholar
- 31.Hedges LV, Olkin I. Statistical methods for meta-analysis. New York: Academic Press, 1985Google Scholar
- 32.Rosenberg MS. The file-drawer problem revisited: a general weighted method for calculating fail-safe numbers in metaanalysis. Evolution Int J Org Evolution 2005 Feb; 59 (2): 464–8Google Scholar
- 37.LaPorte RE, Montoye HL, Caspersen CJ. Assessment of physical activity in epidemiological research: problems and prospects. Public Health Rep 1985; 100: 131–46Google Scholar
- 39.Demyttenaere K, De Fruyt J, Stahl SM. The many faces of fatigue in major depressive disorder. Int J Neuropsychopharm 2005; 8 (1): 93–105Google Scholar
- 42.Dishman RK, Washburn RA, Heath GW. Physical activity epidemiology. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 2004Google Scholar