Lounging around for two weeks over Christmas could permanently damage your health ‘because you lose muscle and your heart and lungs get less efficient’
Scientists at the University of Liverpool tracked people’s health over two weeks They found that doing no activity was enough to cause long-lasting damage
Heart and lung efficiency, muscle mass and bone strength all started to decline
Cells became worse at producing energy and people started to get fatter
Researchers found just a fortnight of inactivity is enough for the muscles and bones to get weaker and the heart and lungs to become less efficient.
They tracked the health of 46 adults – in their 20s and 30s or aged over 60 – who were told to do fewer than 1,500 steps per day for 14 days.
And they found the risk was particularly bad for older people, who were likely weaker or in worse health to begin with, and could suffer from ‘significant’ deterioration.
The lazy period also made fat build up around the waist which could make someone more likely to remain fatter for the long term and increase their risk of diabetes, for example.
The University of Liverpool research team said most studies of physical inactivity look at extreme forms – such as space flight or bedrest – which aren’t relevant to most healthy people.
But they said their study is unique in that it looked at only two weeks of a low step-count of 1,500 per day in young and older normal adults.
It used X-rays, computer scans and weight-lifting tests to test how people’s health changed during their inactive period.
People might end up doing less activity when they’re off work over Christmas, struck down with a winter illness or stuck at home because of bad weather.
Before the two-week period of inactivity, both groups – 26 younger participants and 21 older – did the same amount of physical activity.
Over a four-day average taken before the study, each person normally did at least 10,000 steps per day but did not take part in vigorous exercise.
author: Sam Blanchard Senior Health Reporter For Mailonline