June 2008 • Vol. 87: No. 3 : Around the Arch

Get off the couch!

Sedentary people who engage in regular low intensity exercise can increase their energy levels by 20 percent and decrease fatigue by 65 percent, UGA researchers have found.

The study, by recent doctoral graduate Tim Puetz; Professor Patrick O’Connor, co-director of the UGA Exercise Psychology Laboratory; and former student Sara Flowers, analyzed 36 volunteers who did not exercise regularly and had reported persistent fatigue based on a commonly used health survey. The volunteers were divided into three groups: The first engaged in 20 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise three times a week for six weeks; the second engaged in low-intensity aerobic exercise for the same time period; the control group did not exercise.

The low- and moderate-intensity groups had a 20 percent increase in energy levels over the control group. Surprisingly, the low-intensity group had a greater reduction in fatigue levels than the moderate-intensity group, 65 percent compared to 49 percent, respectively.

The team’s results appear in the February issue of the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

Illustration by Jason Crosby.