Sitting around at Christmas could damage your health for life
Just two weeks of sitting around at Christmas could do lasting damage, new research suggests. The British study found healthy adults who normally took around 10,000 steps a day saw dramatic reductions in strength and essential markers of health, after just a fortnight of taking it easy. Experts warned that the slowdown could be particularly devastating for older people, in causing physiological changes which might never be reversed. The trial involved 47 adults, half of whom were aged 60 and over, with the rest in their 20s and 30s. All were told to restrict activity levels to just 1,500 steps daily, for two weeks. At the end of the study, levels of fat in the muscle had risen by 20 per cent in the younger group, and by 28 per cent in the older group. Meanwhile, leg strength was down by almost 5 per cent in the younger group, and more than 8 per cent among pensioners. Falls were also seen in cardiorespiratory fitness, with a drop of more than 5 per cent among the young, and almost 10 per cent among the older participants. And mitochondrial function - the energy production of the body’s cells - fell sharply after two weeks of couch potato living, with a drop of around 4 per cent among the younger group, and 19 per cent among those aged 60 and over. Researchers said this finding was particularly significant, because it suggests changes in the body which could result in long-term and even permanent damage, affecting metabolic function, musculoskeletal disease, and conditions linked to inflammation.