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If you started the New Year strong by going to the gym and being active in other aspects of your life, keep it up. Being active then taking time off may weaken your cardiovascular health, suggests research out of the University of Missouri School of Medicine. The researchers studied the early effects on the body’s blood vessels when someone transitions from high daily physical activity — 10,000 or more steps per day — to low daily physical activity — less than 5,000 steps per day — for just five days decreases the function of the inner lining of the blood vessels in the legs.
But before you think that your workouts will protect you from this phenomenon, think again. According to study author, John Thyfault, PhD, associate professor in the department of medicine and department of nutrition and exercise physiology, there isn’t any scientific literature that says that training sessions can take the place of the health benefits afforded by being active all day long. In fact, science has found that just the opposite: running five miles and then sitting on your butt for the rest of the day isn’t going to cut it, though it will provide some cardiovascular fitness.
Considering that the average American walks 5,000 steps daily, it’s time to find ways to move more. Dr. Thyfault wears a fitness tracker and suggests others sport one, or pedometer, too. This way you can insure that you are moving throughout the day and finding ways to hit that 10,000-step mark. (See Oxygen’s picks for fitness trackers here.)