Research Proves – Use It Or Lose It

Back in March we returned home from a Caribbean cruise. Once we arrived back in Canada we were required to quarantine and self-isolate for 2 weeks.

We were probably among the first people to do so as the Canadian government closed the border to international travel as we arrived. I remember the customs agent coming on the plane, explaining the quarantine process and duration and giving everyone a handout with the same information. I remember this agent saying we should feel lucky as were the last flight to arrive in Kelowna as the border was closed.

The next two weeks were spent at home. We didn’t go to work, school or out for any reason. It was kind of nice actually as we would simply text a friend or family member our grocery list and send them an email money transfer. We literally didn’t even step out of the house for two weeks.

And we could notice the difference this was making on our physical and mental health. I couldn’t wait to get back in the gym, train and do something active.

As someone who is normally active a couple weeks break from the gym probably wasn’t the worst thing in the world. If I were a couple of decades older this quarantine could have been catastrophic.

A new study looked at how 2 weeks of quarantine affects our health. In this study of 22 men and women, average age of 69 years, total daily steps were reduced to less than 1500 per day.

Researchers looked at insulin sensitivity and muscle protein synthesis after 2 weeks of inactivity.

What they found was that insulin sensitivity and muscle protein synthesis both decreased after only 2 weeks of sitting around. Leg muscle mass decreased by 4%. A key, and concerning, finding of the study was that insulin sensitivity and muscle protein synthesis were not restored after the study. In other words, for those in the study that didn’t use it for the 2 weeks, they lost it.

That should be a real wake up call to all of us that if we don’t stay active all the time, a 2 week period of inactivitty leads to an increased risk of developing diabetes and losing muscle mass that may not come back.

Although it may be difficult to get in all our steps if we are stuck at home that doesn’t mean we can’t be training. In fact, resistance training is one of the best things you can do to maintain your insulin sensitivity.

If you would like a program to follow at the gym or at home make sure to send us a message or leave a comment below. We will follow up and find the right plan to keep you healthy and strong.

McGlory, C., von Allmen, M. T., Stokes, T., Morton, R. W., Hector, A. J., Lago, B. A., … & Baker, S. K. (2018). Failed recovery of glycemic control and myofibrillar protein synthesis with 2 wk of physical inactivity in overweight, prediabetic older adults. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A73(8), 1070-1077.

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