Now, before you yawn & roll off to randomly google your exes (you know, just in case karma really does work), there were a couple of really interesting new findings in this study.
Researchers first recruited people who complained of having fatigue but didn’t fit the criteria for an illness or disease (like chronic fatigue syndrome). I’m imagining in our hamster-wheel society, they didn’t have to look far or long for subjects. They then put the volunteers, who were not regular exercisers, into three groups: group 1 exercised 20 minutes at a moderate intensity 3 times a week, group 2 exercised 20 minutes at a low intensity 3 times a week, and group 3 did… nothing. Poor saps were the control group. And they got paid in ice cream. Kidding!
Both of the exercising groups experienced a 20% increase in energy levels. (How did they measure the energy levels? I’m imagining one of those life-sucker machines like in The Dark Crystal. I always wanted to be a Gelfling. So cute! So fuzzy! So androgynous! Actually, they used self-report questionnaires.) The control group got caught up on Project Runway.
The kicker is this: the low-intensity group experienced a greater reduction in fatigue (65%) than the moderate-intensity group (49%)! Why this is so is open for speculation.
The researchers noted that the results were not related to the increased aerobic capacity of the exercisers leading them to conclude “that exercise acts directly on the central nervous system to increase energy and reduce fatigue.” Tim Puetz, the lead researcher added, “What this means is that in every workout a single step is not just a step closer to a healthier body, but also to a healthier mind.” Awww – somebody put that on a t-shirt!
The main thing to take away from this study besides the obvious (exercise is better than Red Bull) is that even a teeeensy tiny amount of exercise can boost your energy significantly and reduce fatigue. 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week is… well, a time commitment that even commitment-phobes can make. (Warning to commitment-phobes: 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week is not sufficient for your girlfriend/boyfriend.) Studies have also shown that small amounts of exercise can make a big difference in heart health as well.
So, do I even need to tell you? Get out there and move it, move it.