Another excellent reason to start walking more and increasing daily physical activity. So get out there and walk, walk, walk...
From Science Daily: Significant link between daily physical activity, vascular health
As millions of Americans resolve to live healthier lives in 2015, research from the University of Missouri School of Medicine shows just how important diligent, daily physical activity is. The researchers found that reducing daily physical activity for even a few days leads to decreases in the function of the inner lining of blood vessels in the legs of young, healthy subjects causing vascular dysfunction that can have prolonged effects.
Paul Fadel, associate professor of medical pharmacology and physiology, and John Thyfault, associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology, also 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.
"We know the negative consequences from not engaging in physical activity can be reversed," said Fadel. "There is much data to indicate that at any stage of a disease, and at any time in your life, you can get active and prolong your life. However, we found that skipping just five days of physical activity causes damage to blood vessels in the legs that can take a prolonged period of time to repair."
"Inactivity is typically going to lead to people being overweight and obese," said Fadel. "The next step after that is insulin resistance which leads to Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease."
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. Five thousand steps is the national average, but only half of the daily recommendation from the U.S. Surgeon General. The researchers found going from high to low levels of daily physical activity for just five days decreases the function of the inner lining of the blood vessels in the legs.
Counting steps and daily physical activity is different than defined exercise, such as working out at the gym. While there are significant benefits to defined exercise, Thyfault and Fadel's research is based on what amounts to 30 minutes of moderate activity per day.