If you are a healthy, young adult you might not worry too much about staying physically active all the time. How can it hurt if you go through periods when you aren’t really getting much exercise or working out as much as usual?
Well, new research shows exactly how it hurts. It turns out that cutting back on exercise can take a toll on your muscle mass and increase your body fat in a very short period of time.
A study, published in May 2017, found that healthy adults (average age 25) had adverse physical changes after just two weeks of inactivity. These changes in muscle mass and body fat can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions.
“I think it is astonishing that in such a short time these changes occurred,” says endocrinologist Betul Hatipoglu, MD. “It might help explain perhaps why we have an epidemic of obesity and diabetes.”
Previous studies on sedentary behavior have typically focused on special populations, such as astronauts and hospital patients.
“We know that people who sit and stand soon after surgery have less complications, but I have never seen a study that focuses on healthy human beings who were not in a special population group,” Dr. Hatipoglu says.