Scientist have known for some time that inactivity can lead to an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, it is difficult to distinguish the effects of inactivity on individuals because inactive people are more likely to be overweight, have poor eating habits and have a more sedentary lifestyle.
To explore this theory in more depth, researchers at the University of Missouri took a group of healthy and active young adults and requested they decrease their physical activity dramatically. Volunteers were asked to reduce the amount of steps they took daily by nearly half. Glucose levels were closely monitored to determine if inactivity affected the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels.
After analyzing the findings, the results were rather startling. When the volunteer’s remained inactive and still consumed a balanced, healthy diet, their blood sugar levels spiked significantly after meals (compared to when they were active and ate the same diet). Even more alarming was the fact that these spikes successively grew each day they remained inactive.
However, once the test group resumed their daily exercise routines, glucose levels went back to normal. A spike in blood sugar levels only becomes a problem when individuals have prolonged periods of inactivity and the body acclimates. Researchers believe that over time inactivity creates conditions that can result in chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. The slightest activity such as going for a walk around the block at lunch or grabbing a coffee down the street, will help protect you against these conditions.