It happens. You are on a much-needed and deserved vacation. Maybe you are with a friend, your family, your sweetheart, or maybe just getting away on your own. The temptation is to take a break from everything — work, email and social media, even Netflix. Or maybe it’s just a crazy busy time of year. Kids heading back to school, activities ramping up, and something has got to give in the schedule. Whatever the reason, you decide it’s a good time to take a break from exercise.
Please reconsider. And here’s why: new research tells us taking even a short break from your regular exercise routine can have lasting – and seriously negative – effects on your health.
The subjects of a ground-breaking study had previously walked for more than 10,000 steps on most days. They were asked to sit more (3.5 hours per day more) and cut their steps to fewer than 2,000. At the beginning of the study, the subjects’ metabolisms and body compositions were recorded.
After two weeks, well, the scientists who conducted the study called the results “metabolic derangements.” Yikes. In other words, their metabolisms had completely changed.
In just two weeks.
Yes, even just a two-week break, and the effects showed clearly in their blood tests, including the following:
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Less healthy cholesterol profiles
- Lost muscle mass in legs
- INCREASED belly fat
Another study focused on the effects of decreased activity on overweight people past the age of 65 who were at risk for developing diabetes. They were otherwise healthy and walked, on average, 7,000 to 8,000 steps per day. They were asked to sit more and to reduce their steps below 1,000 for two weeks.
- Worsened blood sugar levels
- Insulin resistance climbed
- Lost muscle mass
- And a number had to be removed from the study due to increased risk for Diabetes Type 2 after becoming inactive for that short a period of time.
The scientists found the more sudden the inactivity, the more drastic the effects. Additionally, with sudden change comes greater effects on insulin resistance levels. Worst yet, although it may be only a two-week break from exercise, it takes at least twice as long to get back to the “normal” levels of the above-mentioned health metrics.
So stay as active as you can!