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Daily physical activity may benefit vascular health, study

Posted:  Thursday, January 08, 2015

This New year, it would be wise to resolve to workout daily. Researchers from University of Missouri-Columbia found that abstaining from physical activity for even a few days leads to decreased functioning of the inner lining of blood vessels in the legs of young healthy subjects, causing vascular dysfunction associated with prolonged effects. A decrease in blood vessel function has been shown to be related to early cardiovascular death and hypertension.

The researchers looked at 30 minutes of moderate activity per day such as counting steps and daily physical activity (and not defined exercise such as working out at the gym). They evaluated the early effects of transitioning from high daily physical activity (involving 10,000 or more steps per day) to low daily physical activity (less than 5,000 steps per day) on the body's blood vessels. These results were published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

They found that the vascular dysfunction induced by five days of inactivity requires more than one day of returning to physical activity and taking at least 10,000 steps a day to improve. They also studied the effects of inactivity on glycaemic control, and blood flow and vascular function throughout the body. They found that this acute period of inactivity did not affect blood flow responses to glucose ingestion but it did impair glycaemic control and insulin sensitivity.

"The impairment we saw in just five days was quite striking; it shows just how susceptible the vascular system is to physical inactivity,” said the lead researcher Paul Fadel. The results of the study prove how harmful sitting around all day could be. Thus, indulging in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity everyday could be the healthy way to kick-start the New Year.

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