Steps are important independently of exercise. This is where it gets a bit ‘Sciencey’…
One of the key health benefits of exercise is it’s effect on our ability to control blood glucose and triglycerides after a meal.
High levels of glucose and triglycerides in the blood are linked to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The quicker you can clear high levels of these after a meal the better. Usually, exercise increases the ability to clear post prandial (after meal) triglyceride levels.
However, this does not occur when an individual has been sedentary. A recent study shows that 5,000 steps or less impairs the ability of exercise to increase triglyceride clearance and fat oxidation.
The researchers conclude that fat oxidation is inhibited by inactivity but those 8,500 steps or more per day protects against this.
Presumably, fat oxidation is turned down when we are inactive as it is simply not required (why would we break down fat for energy when energy requirements are low).
In several recent epidemiological studies, inactivity and/or sitting time have been strongly associated with the risk of obesity, metabolic disorders including type 2 diabetes, and especially with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death.
The risks from prolonged sitting seem “independent” of the exercise. In other words, don’t think you can get away with being inactive just because you’ve been to the gym today. Both are required, and both have their own benefits.
So, it is not just how much exercise you do that matters, it’s how active you are too.
Reductions in daily step number for as little as one week have been associated with drastic reductions in glucose tolerance. Sustained reductions in activity are linked to a decrease in insulin sensitivity and increased abdominal fat and endothelial dysfunction.
Have you got your ‘steps’ in today?
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