Windber Medical Center

WIN 2014

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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S P I R I T H E A L T H C O A C H Be a fatiguefighter By Bev Bennett I f you feel like you're running on empty even when you've just woken up or are spending the day at leisure, you could be experiencing the physical and mental knockout of fatigue. It takes a toll, and you probably want nothing more than to crawl into bed. But sleep isn't the only antidote for fatigue, although getting enough Zs is essential. Take a look at your diet, eating patterns, weight, exercise routine and emotional state, say health experts, because improving these can help you feel more energized and keep fatigue at bay. GET A MOVE ON Moving more may be the last thing on your mind when you're fatigued. Yet physical activity can have a significant impact on your energy levels. "It is kind of a paradox. How could something that requires me to use energy make me feel less tired?" says Steven J. Petruzzello, Ph.D., with the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. But if exercise isn't already part of your routine, you may be surprised by the positive changes once you get started. 22 SPI RIT O F WOM EN W I N T E R 2 014 w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m "You'll feel so much better with exercise. If the body has been sedentary, it needs the release," says Jessica Crandall, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Denver and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Physically inactive people who consistently exercised three days a week for 45 minutes a session at moderate intensity reported they improved their feelings of energy by 20 percent, according to Pat O'Connor, professor of kinesiology at the University of Georgia, Athens. "These improvements are realized by healthy people and by those with a medical condition, especially those patients with anxiety, depression or who are undergoing cardiac rehabilitation," says O'Connor. EXERCISE EFFECTIVELY Although some research suggests that strength training works better than aerobic training to overcome fatigue, experts don't know why that might be, according to O'Connor. In any case, exercise doesn't have to be rigorous to be effective. Something as easy as a 10-minute walk can reduce symptoms of fatigue. "And this seems to last for anywhere from two to four hours later," says Petruzzello.

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