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Study Finds That Even A Few Days of Inactivity Could Have Long-Term Effects

A recent study suggests that being inactive for as few as five days may impair glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in young, healthy adults. It may also decrease the function of the inner lining of blood vessels in the legs, and could cause vascular dysfunction with long-ranging effects.

Participants in the study included 14 recreationally active, healthy men in their mid-twenties. They were instructed to go from high physical activity of 10,000 steps per day to low physical activity of 5,000 steps per day for five days.

At the end of the five-day period of inactivity, the researchers found that insulin sensitivity was decreased by 29% and post-prandial blood glucose levels increased by 9%. Additionally, vascular function at the end of the five-day period was decreased. The researchers found that one day of increased physical activity after that five-day period was not enough to reverse the effects of the inactivity.

Previous studies have found that a decrease in blood vessel function is linked to hypertension and early cardiovascular death.

Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 9, 2014, in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Previous clinical studies suggest that even moderate exercise can reduce your risk of dying prematurely, help with blood sugar control, reduce body weight, improve heart health and improve respiratory health. Even a brisk ten-minute walk a day can help.

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