1.3.12

Researchers: Keep Moving!

Researchers: Keep Moving!

There's some good news and some bad news in this New York Times blog post by Gretchen Reynolds.


We'll start with the bad: Even one day of inactivity leads to spikes in blood sugar after eating that are significantly higher than spikes on active days. Studies have linked post-meal blood-sugar spikes to the onset of diseases like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
But the good news, especially for runners: This effect disappears when you resume being active.
The study referred to in the post recruited active individuals, who were monitored for three consecutive days. Then, researchers monitored them while they drastically decreased their activity for three consecutive days. Here's what happened, according to the New York Times:
During the three days of inactivity, volunteers’ blood sugar levels spiked significantly after meals, with the peaks increasing by about 26 percent compared with when the volunteers were exercising and moving more. What’s more, the peaks grew slightly with each successive day.
This change in blood sugar control after meals “occurred well before we could see any changes in fitness or adiposity,” or fat buildup, due to the reduced activity, [researcher] Dr. [John P.] Thyfault says. So the blood sugar swings would seem to be a result, directly, of the volunteers not moving much.
Studies have found that blood sugar regulation returns to normal once the temporarily inactive become active again, but chronic inactivity, researchers believe, causes physiological changes that lead to the development of diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
The takeaway? Keep running. It won't hurt your health to take a bit of time off, but move--in any capacity--as frequently as you can to keep your body in tip-top shape.