The University of Missouri School of Medicine has published a new study detailing how important daily physical activity is. The study determined that reducing physical activity for a few days leads to a decrease in the function of blood vessels in the legs of young healthy subjects. This decrease in function is called vascular dysfunction.
The researchers examined the effects on the body’s blood vessels when someone transitions from high daily physical activity, defined as 10,000 or more steps per day, to low daily physical activity, less than 5,000 steps per day. The research findings revealed that going from high to low levels of daily physical activity for just five days decreases the function of the inner lining of the blood vessels in the legs. Impairments in glycemic control and insulin sensitivity were also a consequence of reduced daily physical activity.
“We know the negative consequences from not engaging in physical activity can be reversed,” said Paul Fadel, associate professor of medical pharmacology and physiology, and John Thyfault, associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology. “There is much data to indicate that at any stage of a disease, and at any time in your life, you can get active and prolong your life. However, we found that skipping just five days of physical activity causes damage to blood vessels in the legs that can take a prolonged period of time to repair.”
“The best treatment is to become more active, and our research lends proof to that concept,” Fadel said. “If you do not realize how harmful sitting around all day and not doing any activity is to your health, this proves it.”
Leryn J Reynolds, Daniel P Credeur, Seth W Holwerda, Heather J Leidy, Paul J Fadel, John P Thyfault. Acute Inactivity Impairs Glycemic Control but Not Blood Flow to Glucose Ingestion. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000508