While spending two weeks on a lazy vacation sounds like a dream, new research shows a fortnight of doing nothing can cause muscles to waste away and plunge fitness levels.
A British study on healthy young adults found startling changes in muscle mass and metabolism when participants did not do anything for two weeks.
Scientists have warned these changes can lead to an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and a potentially premature death.
Researchers from Liverpool University examined 28 young adults with an average age of 25. The participants were asked to cut their activity levels by 80 per cent and cut down from 10,000 steps to only 1,500. At the end of the 14 days, participants had lost almost a third of a kilo of lean muscle. Their waistline had also expanded by half an inch and there was an increase in liver fat and bad cholesterol markers. Cardio-respiratory fitness levels also saw a decline.
When participants returned to their previous fitness habits, they were not able to return to shape in almost two weeks.
Lead researcher Dr Dan Cuthbertson said: “In a group of physically active, healthy young individuals that met the recommended physical activity guidelines, just 14 days of increased sedentary behaviour resulted in small but significant reductions in fitness that were accompanied by reductions in muscle mass and increases in body fat.”
He also said those who don’t exercise are at a risk of being obese and illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes. “The take-home message is two-fold,” he said. “If you do formal exercise, it may not be enough and keeping active as part of your daily life is important.
“And for those who don’t exercise, avoiding prolonged sitting and increasing your daily step counts has clear health benefits.
“It does appear that there is something in this idea of 10,000 steps a day being good for you. People have become obsessed with 10,000 steps a day and this research shows it’s a good thing.”
National Health Service in Britain suggests adults should do 150 minutes of activity weekly. Most adults fail to meet this target. Dr Cuthbertson added: “Our day to day physical activity is key to abstaining from disease and health complications. People must avoid sitting for long periods of time.”
Chairman of National Obesity Forum Tam Fry said millions in Britain need to change their lifestyle habits radically. “Yet again the science is telling us that physical activity should not, and must not, be missed.”
He further warned those who did not implement physical activity in their routine would ‘certainly’ face ill-health later in life.
Exercising should be a regular part of the day “like brushing your teeth,” he said. “Those who fail to exercise ignore activity at their peril: sarcopenia, serious muscle wasting, and obesity may combine to catch up with them.”
Sarah James, Sports Nutritionist and Health Information Manager at World Cancer Research Fund, said: “Fitting more exercise into each day, whether that be cycling to work or taking the stairs, can make a huge impact on your risk of several serious diseases, including some of the most common cancers.”
“Being physically active can directly help prevent several cancers, including breast and bowel cancers. Having an active lifestyle is also vital for maintaining a healthy weight, which can in turn reduce your risk of 11 common cancers.”
This story originally appeared on The Telegraph
The post Two weeks of vacation could be bad for your health: study appeared first on The Express Tribune.