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Feelings of energy are associated with physical activity and sleep quality, but not adiposity, in middle-aged postmenopausal women

Ward-Ritacco, Christie L. PhD1; Adrian, Amanda L. PhD1; O’Connor, Patrick J. PhD1; Binkowski, Jessica A. MS1; Rogers, Laura Q. MD, MPH2; Johnson, Mary Ann PhD3; Evans, Ellen M. PhD1

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000315
Original Articles

Objective Feelings of fatigue and low energy are widespread among middle-aged women and have been shown to negatively affect quality of life. The aim of the present study was to examine the associations among adiposity, physical activity, and feelings of fatigue and energy in postmenopausal women.

Methods Postmenopausal women (N = 74; mean [SD] age, 58.9 [3.8] y) were assessed for adiposity (via dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry), steps per day, minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day (via an accelerometer), prior week intensity of psychological vigor (via the Profile of Mood States—Short Form), and prior month frequency of energy feelings (via the vitality scale of the 36-item Medical Outcomes Survey—Short Form). Sleep quality was measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, depression was measured using the Beck Depression Inventory-II, and perceived stress was measured using the Perceived Stress Scale.

Results Adiposity was negatively related to steps per day (r = −0.55, P < 0.05) and minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day (r = −0.48, P < 0.05). Adiposity was not significantly related to vigor, vitality, or any other psychological measures. Greater vitality was associated with lower total number of medications (r = −0.31, P < 0.01), more steps per day (r = 0.28, P < 0.05), and higher minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day (r = 0.37, P < 0.01). Prior week feelings of vigor were unrelated to any variable of interest. Regression analyses revealed that minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day independently explained 8% of the variance in vitality, whereas sleep quality was also a significant predictor of vitality (both P < 0.05).

Conclusions Engaging in recommended amounts of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day is associated with higher monthly frequency of energy feelings, regardless of adiposity status, in middle-aged postmenopausal women.

From the 1Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA; 2Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL; and 3Department of Foods and Nutrition, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

Received May 6, 2014; revised and accepted July 1, 2014.

Funding/support: This study was funded, in part, by US Department of Agriculture Hatch grant GEO 00708 to M.A.J.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: M.A.J. is currently receiving funding from the US Department of Agriculture. C.L.W.-R., A.L.A., P.J.O’C., J.A.B., E.M.E., and L.Q.R. have no conflicts of interest or financial disclosures to declare.

Address correspondence to: Christie L. Ward-Ritacco, PhD, Ramsey Student Center, Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, 330 River Rd, Athens, GA 30602. E-mail:

© 2015 by The North American Menopause Society.