24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Health Tip: The Importance of HydrationHealthy Lifestyle, Regular Screening May Keep Cancer at BayBPA Levels in Humans Are Underestimated: StudyHow Well Are You Aging? A Blood Test Might TellDistracted by Their Smartphones, Pedestrians Are Landing in the ERAntarctic Study Shows Isolation, Monotony May Change the Human BrainAre E-Scooters a Quick Ticket to the ER?Sleep Deprivation a Big Drain on the BrainLife Expectancy Shrinks for America's Working-Age AdultsHitting the Highway This Holiday Season? Buckle Up in Front and BackAHA News: Regular Fasting Could Lead to Longer, Healthier LifeHealth Tip: Avoiding Cabin Fever This WinterKeep Stress Under Control as Holiday Season StartsThree Tips for Getting Your Zzzzzz'sHealth Tip: Creating a Healthy RoutineDon't Let Salmonella Make Your Thanksgiving a TurkeyMusic Integral to All Cultures, in Similar Ways: StudyAHA News: Eating Mindfully Through the Holidays – and All YearProtect Yourself From Frigid-Weather EmergenciesNot Getting Enough Shut-Eye? You Have Plenty of Company'Meatless Monday' Can Help Change Diets for GoodPlants Will Not Boost Your Home's Air Quality: StudyHealth Tip: Ridesharing SafetyHealth Tip: Autumn Driving SafetyTV Binges, Video Games, Books and Sports Taking Toll on SleepSurvey Shows Americans Feel StressedDon't Get Along With Family? Check Your HealthHow to Head Off Holiday Weight GainClimate Change a 'Threat to Human Well-Being,' Scientists SayHealth Tip: Bundle Up on Cold, Windy DaysGet Healthier With a Mental ResetAre You Lonely? Your Tweets Offer Important Clues, Experts SayDaylight Saving Time Bad for Health, Experts ClaimMore Reasons Why You Must Manage Your StressWith Time Change, Use That Extra Hour for SleepAHA News: Your Neighborhood's Walkability May Be A Trick-Or-Treat For Your Heart All YearToo Little Time to Exercise? Survey Suggests OtherwiseAlmost Half of Americans Have Been Sleepy Behind the WheelHealth Tip: The 'Wall Test' For Good PostureCould Screens' Blue Light Make You Old Before Your Time?Health Tip: Prioritizing Your WellnessThe Wellness Boost of a Purposeful LifeHealth Tip: Planning a Stress-Reducing VacationWhy Maintaining a Healthy Weight Is Important in AdulthoodAHA News: The Road to Better Exercise Might Be in Your PlaylistAre You Eating More Calories Than You Think?How Fast You Walk Might Show How Fast You're AgingTying the Knot Is Tied to Longer Life Span, New Data ShowsCould Eating Healthier Be a Natural Antidepressant?'Smartphone Slouching' More Serious Than It Sounds
Links
Related Topics

Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management

Just 2 Weeks on the Couch Starts to Damage Your Body

HealthDay News
by By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Sep 19th 2019

new article illustration

THURSDAY, Sept. 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A new study proves that the old adage "use it or lose it" is definitely true when it comes to fitness.

After just two weeks of sedentary behavior, formerly fit people had:

  • A decline in heart and lung health
  • Increased waist circumference
  • Greater body fat and liver fat
  • Higher levels of insulin resistance

"The study showed that two weeks of reduced physical activity -- from approximately 10,000 steps per day down to 1,500 per day -- caused changes in health markers that are associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease," said study author Kelly Bowden Davies. She's a lecturer at Newcastle University and the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

But the good news from the study is that the body seems to quickly bounce back once you start moving again.

"It's important to note that when people resumed their normal activity levels after this period, the negative health changes were reversed," she said.

The researchers recruited 28 healthy, regularly active adults. Eighteen were women. The average age of the study volunteers was 32. Their average body mass index (BMI) -- a rough measure of body fat based on height and weight measurements -- was just over 24. A BMI under 24.9 is considered normal weight.

The study volunteers had been quite active, normally clocking about 10,000 steps daily. Bowden Davies said most of this was just from daily activity, rather than structured exercise. She said they usually participate in no more than two hours of structured exercise weekly.

The researchers asked the volunteers to cut their activity drastically. They dropped an average of just over 100 minutes a day, the researchers said.

After two weeks of couch potato life, the study volunteers underwent a battery of testing. These results were compared to findings measured when the study started.

Bowden Davies said cardiorespiratory fitness levels dropped by 4% in just two weeks.

Waist circumference rose by nearly one-third of an inch. Liver fat increased by 0.2%. Total body fat went up by 0.5%. Insulin resistance increased and triglyceride (a type of blood fat) levels went up slightly.

Fourteen days after resuming activity, these measures all bounced back, the investigators found.

"Even subtle increases in activity can have a positive effect on health. Moving more and breaking up sedentary activity is encouraged," Bowden Davies added.

Dr. John Osborne, an American Heart Association spokesman, said this was a very interesting, and somewhat surprising, study. The findings validate advice he gives his patients. "If you can be a shark or a turtle, be a shark -- always moving. This study showed you can lose the benefits of exercise very quickly, but the good news is that when they became sharks again, all the benefits came right back."

Another expert who reviewed the study, Dr. Edmund Giegerich, chief of endocrinology and vice chairman of medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in New York City, was also somewhat surprised by the magnitude of changes that happened in just two weeks.

Giegerich said the study confirms how important it is to stay active.

"Going from being sedentary to more active can help a great deal in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. Just try to be more active. You'll feel better, and if you're trying to lose weight, it can help a little. You don't have to run a marathon. Walking is fine. Just get up and get moving," he advised.

Both experts pointed out that the study was small, and in a larger group, the findings might be different. The study was also only done for a short period of time.

Bowden Davies, Osborne and Giegerich all suspect that if people who are at a lower fitness level stop almost all of their activity that the results might even be worse.

The study was presented Wednesday at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting, in Barcelona. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they're published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Learn more about the benefits of exercise from the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.