Keep Moving to Keep Healthy
Staying active has been linked to fighting off illness. Researchers at the University of Missouri had a group of healthy, active young adults to temporarily stop their daily physical activity. They wanted to examine the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on overall health. The goal of the study was to see how physical activity affects the way the body regulates the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
Researchers examined the blood sugar of the test subjects and closely monitored their activity and exercise levels. During the first three days of the study, the volunteers exercised 30 minutes and walked more than 10,000 daily steps. During these three days, the volunteers' blood sugar did not spike after they ate.
However, this all changed when the volunteers cut back on their activity. The volunteers were told to cut back on activity so that their step counts would fall below 5,000 a day for the next three days. The volunteers stopped exercising and took the elevator instead of the stairs with every opportunity they got. They also would have meals delivered to them rather than walking to get it. Consequently, researchers saw significant spikes in blood sugar after the volunteers ate, which didn't happen when they were active.
"Spikes and swings in blood sugar after meals have been linked to the development of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes," one of the authors of the study, John P. Thyfault, told The New York Times.
The body typically regains control of its blood sugar levels once you start moving again so such temporary inactivity shouldn't have any health effects. It's the prolonged periods of inactivity can lead to such health problems.
It's important to not to confuse being sedentary with your lifestyle with being sedentary from actual exercising. When you exercise, whether moderate or vigorously, your body is put under a constant stress. It's important to give your muscles a rest every few days but this shouldn't mean to completely stop moving. For example, you should take the stairs as much as you can instead of the elevator. You should try to park farther than closer to a store. You should take a few minutes out of your day to make sure your moving. If you are sitting down all day, make sure to get up every few hours and take a short walk, no matter how busy you are. You may actually feel better and it will get your body back in tune with itself. You should always keep yourself active. It's sad that so many Americans spend more of their days on the couch than outside. Hopefully this can serve as a wakeup call for those people.
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