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Does Lack of Exercise Cause Tiredness?

Does Lack of Exercise Cause Tiredness - Woman Tired When Working Out

Exactly what does scientific testing reveal about the lack of exercise and feeling tired and listless?


The last thing most of us want is to take a trip to the gym

The sofa looks a lot more inviting than the treadmill or bench-press.

It may seem odd that when we exercise and use up energy in doing so, we actually feel less tired.

But although you don't have to do hardcore exercise, doing some form of exercise DOES help us feel more energized.

What the Bulk of the Research Says

Studies have proven that there is an increase in levels of the “feel good” hormones – dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin in animal brains – presumably the same goes for us.

A review of research studies was carried out by Georgia University, USA. They looked at 70 controlled trials which used 6,807 subjects. Over 90% of the results showed that if sedentary people exercised they felt more energetic and vibrant. [1]

The more physical activity you do the better you usually feel – up to a certain point. And if you are not used to exercising – start off slowly. [2]

What is Enough Exercise?

So how do you know that you are not doing enough exercise…

And that not enough exercise is the cause of your tiredness?

Here are the recommended exercise guidelines from The US Department of Health and Human Services:

Does Lack of Exercise Cause Tiredness - Brisk Walk

Aerobic Activity

150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of the two. (that's 21-to-10 minutes per day).

This can include mowing the lawn, brisk walking to dancing and running

Does Lack of Exercise Cause Tiredness - Lifting Weights

Strength (Resistance) Training

Strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least twice a week.

Strength training may include sports such as rock climbing, canoeing as well as weight machines

In Simple Terms…

To keep it easy to follow, here are the ‘rule of thumb' guidelines:

Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise every day (which can be split up)
Try to aim for more if you need to lose weight
And if you can possibly reduce the amount of time you spend sitting – do so

Too Much Exercise?

Your body will tell you if you are overdoing things – you will feel physically exhausted, and need to rest.

The Difference Between the Two Tiredness's

Although too much exercise can make you feel tired, it is more of a sore muscles tired. Tiredness from lack of exercise feels more like a lethargic, listless, sluggish sort of tiredness.

It is important to note that before embarking on an exercise programme, you really should check it out with your doctor first – especially if you have been a bit of a couch potato beforehand.

What You Can Do About It

There are lots of small changes you can make to increase your levels of physical activity and feel more energetic.

Taking up some sport or activity is certainly one – but be sure it is something you enjoy doing as persistence pays off. You need to keep it up – and increase it as you get fitter. Small lifestyle changes can make a difference.

Make exercise a part of your daily routine. Some suggestions are:

  • Walk part of the way to work every day
  • Climb the stairs instead of taking the lift
  • Get a dog – but only if you can look after it
  • Don’t sit for too long. Studies show that changing form seated to standing every 30 minutes during the work day makes you feel less tired and still enables you to work well.[3]
  • Take up an active hobby you can enjoy. (cycling, walking, dancing, etc, etc)

‘Why Does Lack of Exercise Make Me Feel Tired?'

Regular exercise should be a part of our everyday life – especially if you are feeling listless and tired. Our bodies have evolved over thousands of years to need physical activity – and it makes you feel even more energetic and vibrant.

It is also shown to make you feel happier and generally more positive about life [4]


Most of us simply don’t find the time for exercise, but if we want to feel on top form, mentally as well as physically, we need to make the time. Feeling alert and fit is surely the greatest gift we can give ourselves.

But the most important thing is to enjoy what you are doing and enjoy the greater feeling of well- being that goes with it – as well as a feeling of self-satisfaction!

I hope this article helps answer the question of does lack of exercise cause tiredness for you. If you have any questions, you can contact me here.

You can also find more on what causes tiredness here

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