No Gym Today? At Least Move Your Body

We invent a million and a half reasons for why we can't exercise-excuses for not pounding some pavement for 20 minutes or lifting a five-pound weight every once and a while. We are a sedentary nation, and scientists want to know just how our inactivity affects our body and our health.

Studies have found evidence that sedentary people are more likely to develop heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, but people who are inactive may also be obese, eat bad food, or make other poor lifestyle choices, which make it difficult to study the specific role inactivity plays in all of this. So instead of studying inactive people, researchers at the University of Missouri recently studied a group of healthy, active young adults. They asked them to stop moving as much-to cut the number of steps they took each day in half. Some volunteers were even put on bed rest. (In case you didn't know, the American Heart Association recommends people take 10,000 steps or more a day, the equivalent of about five miles of walking).

The result of taking fewer steps, only 5,000 a day for three days? Scary. The study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that volunteers' blood sugar levels spiked big time after meals. Those spikes in blood sugar levels are the root cause of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, regardless of a person's weight or diet.

But don't worry; inactivity only becomes a serious problem when it is the norm. To avoid the bulge and disease, keep moving, even if in small doses.

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