Most of us understand this basic health concept: exercising reaps more benefits than staying sedentary. But inactivity can have a more harmful effect on our health than you probably realize; researchers at the University of Missouri recently conducted a study to find out how.
In their effort to determine how inactivity can affect disease risk, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, researchers took a group of healthy, active adults and told them to stop moving so much. Instead of working out every day, the subjects were instructed to cut their number of daily steps in half.
Armed with glucose-monitoring devices, pedometers and activity-measuring armbands, the volunteers’ blood sugar and number of steps were monitored throughout the day in order for the researchers to determine whether a more sedentary lifestyle would influence the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels. Spikes and peaks in blood sugar are tied to the development of both heart disease and type 2 diabetes.