Hustle and bustle, liveliness, movement, action, happenings, events, comings and goings, life, and pastime, all refer to activity. It’s the condition in which things are happening or being done. Recreation is considered leisure activity. Being busy or having movement or vigorous action, are all a section of human activity. When activity requires physical effort to carry out, or to sustain or improve health and fitness, it is referred to as exercise. Here Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times, reflects on the subject of inactivity:
“At the height of summer, naps at the beach can be alluring, and many of us may find ourselves tempted to take prolonged vacations from exercise.
But two new, admonitory studies involving both older and younger adults who temporarily cut back on their physical activity indicate that the metabolic consequences of not moving much for a few weeks can be pervasive and persistent, lingering to some extent even after people start moving around normally again.
Physical activity is, of course, good for us and our metabolisms. Among other effects, contracting muscles burn blood sugar as fuel and, in response to signals from the hormone insulin, also store some of it for future use. Over the long term, these conditions help our bodies to stave off soaring blood sugar, insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
But what happens when, as a result of choices or circumstances, we do not exercise or move around much for a period of time?
In some past studies with healthy, active young people, often college students, the consequences have been swift but reversible. When these volunteers have taken to their beds and chairs for days on end in the interest of science, they often have developed heightened blood sugar and some early symptoms of insulin resistance.
But within a day or two of returning to their normal activities, their metabolisms usually stabilized and blood sugar and insulin levels dropped.
Many of us, though, are not robust, young college students, and whether the impacts of becoming inactive, even for a short period of time, are likely to be as ephemeral for us has been less clear.
So for one of the new studies, which was published in June in Diabetologia, researchers at the University of Liverpool in England and other institutions asked 45 adult men and women to abruptly start sitting more.
The volunteers had previously been active, walking for more than 10,000 steps on most days, according to monitors that they wore for several days at the study’s start. They also had been metabolically healthy, testing showed, and free from diabetes, although some had near relatives with the condition.”
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