How much inactivity can trigger diabetes symptoms?

September 17, 2020

Important Points:

  • Diabetes
  • Active
  • Inactivity
  • Health benefits

How much inactivity can trigger diabetes symptoms?

One of the core risk factors for diabetes and general unhealthiness is sticking to a sedentary lifestyle. Not moving around or having no physical activity not only promotes muscular decline and weakness of the heart, it can also lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.

According to a study published in The Journals of Gerontology, two weeks of inactivity in pre-diabetic individuals was enough to trigger symptoms of diabetes. Researchers asked the study participants to limit their daily steps to no more 1000 steps per day using a pedometer, and after two weeks’ worth of inactivity, the symptoms of diabetes became apparent, including an increase blood sugar levels, an increase in the onset of insulin resistance, reduction in skeletal muscle mass, and hastening of the onset of diabetes itself.  Researchers expected these results but what shocked them the most was how much harder reversing the symptoms was. Even more alarming is the fact that it takes two weeks of normal activity to restore the body into its prediabetic symptoms state.

The silver lining we can get from this study is knowing the importance of staying active. If you want a more serious incentive to keep moving, keep in mind that activity directly prevents diabetes as well as producing overall health benefits.  The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends losing just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight as it helps delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, and keeping active will aid in losing that body weight, thus furthering the relationship between activity and diabetes prevention. Keeping yourself active – even just 40 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 3 to 4 times a week – will reduce your blood pressure and help regulate your cholesterol level.

Sedentary lifestyle and risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes

Failed Recovery of Glycemic Control and Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis With 2 wk of Physical Inactivity in Overweight, Prediabetic Older Adults

Health Risks of Being Overweight

American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults

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