Skipping physical activity for even 2 weeks may increase health risks

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The importance of remaining physically active cannot be emphasized enough. Physical activity is critical for maintaining a healthy weight, controlling illness, promoting bone strength, reducing stress and improving general well-being.
The adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle on health have also been well-documented. Adding to the body of evidence, a new study involving young and healthy adults, presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto, Portugal has shown that even taking a 2-week break from physical activity can adversely impact health.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool, UK have shown that just 2 weeks without regular physical activity can lead to metabolic and muscular changes in the body predisposing the individual to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and possibly even premature death. All the study participants were physically active and walked 10,000 steps daily on average and had an average body mass index (BMI) of 25 at baseline.
The exercise regime adopted during the study period of 2 weeks reduced their activity by more than 80%. And at the end of the study period, the daily step count was only around 1500. The amount of food consumed did not change.

The moderate-to-vigorous activity time reduced from a daily average of 161 min to 36 minutes. While, sedentary time increased by 2 hours and 9 minutes. Cardiorespiratory fitness declined. A loss of bone mass and increase in body fat, especially around the waist, was also observed. Pot belly obesity, we know, is associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and low ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.
Being physically active does not only mean ‘a certain period of exercise’ for example, spending an hour at the gym. Instead one should try to be more and more physically active throughout the day, along with eating a healthy diet. There are several ways you can do this:

• Avoid using a lift. Walk up the stairs as often as possible.
• Get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way to your office/destination.
• Have “walk-meetings” instead of “sit-in” meetings.
• Walk down to speak to your colleague instead of using the intercom/phone.
• Take a walk around your building during lunch break.
• Walk to the nearby shops instead of driving.
• Stand up and walk while talking on the phone.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has taken an initiative to promote physical activity through its campaign “Move, Move and Move”.
Sit less and walk more and more … Make it a daily routine to undertake activities that keep you fit and active. Choose activities that not only promote strength, balance and flexibility, but most importantly, which you also enjoy…
(Source: A 2-Week Lazy Holiday ‘Could Be a Health Risk’ – Medscape – May 17, 2017)