A new study proves that the old adage “use it or lose it” is definitely true when it comes to fitness.
After just two weeks of sedentary behavior, formerly fit people had:
- A decline in heart and lung health
- Increased waist circumference
- Greater body fat and liver fat
- Higher levels of insulin resistance
“The study showed that two weeks of reduced physical activity — from approximately 10,000 steps per day down to 1,500 per day — caused changes in health markers that are associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” study author Kelly Bowden Davies says. Bowden Davies is a lecturer at Newcastle University and the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.
But the good news from the study is that the body seems to quickly bounce back once you start moving again.
“It’s important to note that when people resumed their normal activity levels after this period, the negative health changes were reversed,” she says.
The researchers recruited 28 healthy, regularly active adults. Eighteen were women. The average age of the study volunteers was 32. Their average body mass index (BMI) — a rough measure of body fat based on height and weight measurements — was just over 24. A BMI under 24.9 is considered normal weight.
The study volunteers had been quite active, normally clocking about 10,000 steps daily. Bowden Davies says most of this was just from daily activity, rather than structured exercise. They usually participate in