As the days get shorter and the nights cooler across much of Australia, it’s so easy to put your feet up in front of the fire and forgo that evening walk or run after work.
We empathise, we really do.
But it’s time to snap out of that lethargy before it’s too late, warns a new study out of England.
Two weeks of idleness is all it takes to cause muscles to waste away, waistlines to expand and metabolism to be harmed, say scientists at the University of Liverpool.
The lab-coats took 25 subjects who did not do much formal exercise but took about 10,000 steps a day, and told them to move less for two weeks while eating the same food.
Activity trackers showed that their daily time spent being active fell from more than two hours to half an hour.
After just two weeks they had lost 360g in muscle mass, mainly in the legs, their waist circumferences had expanded by an average of 0.7cm, their fitness levels had fallen and levels of fatty molecules in the blood linked to insulin resistance had risen.
Researchers said that when the participants returned to normal activity most of those changes were reversed – but they all struggled to get back into exercise.
Study leader Daniel Cuthbertson told The Times that the reported changes over two weeks weren’t a serious concern, but if the laziness continued unabated for six, or even eight weeks it could easily make a clinical difference to your health.
“Such changes can lead to chronic metabolic disease and premature mortality,” he says.
Public Health England estimates that one in six deaths can be traced to laziness.
So how can you snap out of that winter funk? Short of a one-way ticket to lagoon swimming in Rarotonga, you might like to consider the advice of the world’s fittest 54-year-old Owen McKibbon.
The major advocate for the ketogenic diet (low-carb, high-fat) and Bula Fit Warrior Group tells AGEIST that their are four steps to staying motivated for fitness beyond 50.
1. Go to bed hungry
If you’re overweight and want to lose pounds and inches, start by cutting out rice, potatoes, pasta, and bread. Those are high glycemic carbohydrates. I also recommend the ketogenic diet. Which is high in fats, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates.
2. Run less, lift more
Strength training and resistance training is a must as you age. It promotes bone density and lean muscle tissue.
3. Don’t join a gym, just move
Movement is what it is all about. Stick with the basics and build from there.
4. It’s the little things
Look at your day as a set of challenges and a chance to make little deposits in the fitness bank along the way. From parking your car farther away from work and opting to walk and take the stairs instead of escalators and elevators. Start with walking and then throw a set of squats in every two minutes. Every other set throw in a set of push-ups and alternate between push-ups and squats in between 2 to 3 minutes of walking.