In a presentation to the European Congress on obesity, lead researcher Kelly Bowden-Davies, M.Sc., Institute of Aging and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool, U.K. reported that even a short lapse in regular activity can have detrimental effects to health. They asked healthy, active individuals to limit physical activity for 2 weeks with no other changes to diet. They were asked to make changes such as: stay home more, take the elevator rather than stairs, or ride a bus rather than walking.
Researchers noted even with the short duration of this study, the participants had notable changes in health. In general, participants lost almost a pound of lean muscle mass and gained body fat in its place. Most of the fat gained was in the belly, which in itself is a risk factor for many chronic diseases.
Participants also had a significant decrease in their fitness levels. They were unable to run as long or as fast as they had prior to the 2 weeks of sedentary lifestyle. These changes were especially alarming because the participants were healthy individuals, not already at high risk for developing chronic disease.
Researchers were happy to report that the changes were reversed within two weeks of the participants resuming their normal active routines. However, they caution that going to the gym a couple times a week cannot make-up for a lifestyle of inactivity the rest of the time. “Exercise is good, but you need to be active all day, which includes being on your feet and taking walk breaks”, Bowden-Davies said.
This demonstrates that starting a fitness program can help reverse some risk factors and that it may not take a long time for that improvement to begin. It’s never too late to make changes. Take the stairs… park further from the door… park your car then walk back to your mailbox… even small changes like this add up.
Then make it two flights of stairs, walk to the store, or walk around the block. Keep adding more activity as you are able until you reach your optimal health.
Have questions about what activity would be best for you? Need help improving flexibility to be able to do certain tasks? See your local chiropractor today!