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Active and Sedentary Behaviors Influence Feelings of Energy and Fatigue in Women

Ellingson, Laura D.1,2; Kuffel, Alexa E.2; Vack, Nathan J.3; Cook, Dane B.1,2

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 1 - p 192–200
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182a036ab
Applied Sciences

Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine whether physical activity and sedentary behaviors interact to influence feelings of energy and fatigue in women.

Methods Feelings of energy and fatigue and physical activity and sedentary behaviors were assessed in 73 women (mean ± SD age = 37 ± 10) who were dichotomized based on physical activity status (meets physical activity recommendations [n = 40] vs insufficiently active [n = 33]) and the amount of uninterrupted sedentary time they accumulated (high [n = 38] vs low [n = 35]). Three 2 × 2 ANOVA were conducted to determine the relationships between physical activity and sedentary behaviors and between energy (vigor and vitality) and fatigue.

Results Results demonstrated a significant main effect for meeting physical activity recommendations for both vigor (P = 0.004) and vitality (P < 0.001). For fatigue, there was a significant interaction between physical activity and sedentary behaviors (P = 0.005). Analyses of simple main effects demonstrated that in women who were not meeting physical activity recommendations, those who were less sedentary had significantly lower levels of fatigue than their more sedentary peers (P = 0.003).

Conclusions Our results suggest that meeting physical activity recommendations has benefits for energy and fatigue even when combined with an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Moreover, in women who are insufficiently active, being less sedentary is associated with lower levels of fatigue that are comparable with women who are meeting recommendations.

1William S. Middleton Veterans Hospital, Madison, WI; 2Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison WI; and 3Waisman Center for Brain Imaging and Behavior, Madison, WI

Address for correspondence: Laura D. Ellingson, Ph.D., Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Unit II Gymnasium/natatorium, 2000 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706; E-mail:

Submitted for publication February 2013.

Accepted for publication June 2013.

© 2014 American College of Sports Medicine