Gary Hunter, a professor and director of the physical activity lab at the Nutritional Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama, in Birmingham, said the decreased endurance the researchers found among obese participants is probably caused by both difficulty exercising and the obesity itself.
"Obese people probably have a little more difficulty doing things, especially things that require them to move their body or their arms."
Hunter said that he has found that some people who are overweight are prone to "overperceiving," that is, sensing fatigue and the need to slow down long before others might feel that way.
Hunter said the only way to solve the problem -- whether it is obesity causing the fatigue or fatigue contributing to the obesity -- is through strength training, also called resistance training. "You don't necessarily have to do a large amount of exercise. We're talking about 30 minutes twice a week," he said.
Gradually, people will get stronger, use less energy to do tasks, function better on the job, and feel less discomfort, he explained.
Learn more about being overweight or obese from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Lora Cavuoto, Ph.D., assistant professor, department of industrial and systems engineering, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York; Gary Hunter, Ph.D., professor, director, physical activity lab, Nutritional Obesity Research Center, the University of Alabama, Birmingham; September 2014 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
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