Research Reveals Significant Health Damage Following Lazy Breaks

UK online travel agency, Sunshine, has completed a piece of research to reveal the health impact of a two week holiday in which people do nothing. Worryingly, just two weeks of inactivity had very significant consequences on the body, including an expanding waistline and loss of muscle mass. They also found that, in order for fitness levels to return to pre-holiday levels, people need longer than two weeks. The travel agency is encouraging people to keep active even if they are on holiday, choosing activities for which they have to move, and continuing to take 10,000 steps a day.

Many people consider spending two weeks lying on a beach the ultimate relaxation and opportunity to recharge their batteries. However, research completed by UK online holiday company Sunshine has shown that doing this causes significant changes to both metabolism and muscle mass. In fact, it increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other reasons for premature death.

In the research, the Sunshine team surveyed 28 young adults, all fit and healthy. Their average age was 25. The participants were asked to implement an 80% drop in activity levels, lowering their daily 10,000 steps to just 1,500. Following a two week period, researchers noted:

  • A 0.8 pound drop in lean muscle mass.
  • A 1 centimeter expansion of the waistline.
  • An increase in fat on the liver.
  • An increase in levels of bad cholesterol.
  • A decline in cardio-respiratory and overall fitness levels.

Of particular interest was the fact that participants needed more than two weeks in order to return to their fitness levels.

The Sunshine lead researcher explains: “What we saw was that a two week period of sedentary behavior is incredibly detrimental to overall levels of fitness and health, even in healthy, active young people. If this isn’t addressed, then they risk becoming obese, as well as developing a variety of other health problems.”

What the research also showed was that the 10,000 steps a day message continues to be very valid today. Other research has demonstrated that if that step count was maintained but other fitness activities were dropped when on holiday, the negative consequences were not as significant.

According to health experts, the average adult should work out for about 150 minutes each week, but very few achieve this. In fact, research has shown that many only get 30 minutes of activity a week, if not less. What this new piece of research clearly demonstrates, therefore, is just how important it actually is that people are physically active, even if they are on holiday.

The Sunshine team came together with a number of medical researchers, who have described inactivity as the greatest silent killer in the United Kingdom. It can cause a range of diseases, many of them deadly, and they can creep up on people unnoticed.

“The importance of physical activity is true for entire families,” adds the Sunshine researcher. “While it is certainly true that people look forward to their two weeks abroad because they can finally just do nothing, we want to send the message out that people should try to at least take 10,000 steps a day. This is also something they should teach their children.”

He adds:

“Being physically active on holiday is easy and fun. We aren’t suggesting that people should suddenly only book in hotels that have fully functional gyms! There are lots of fun things that people can do instead. Swimming in the pool, playing beach volleyball, or even just throwing the ball to each other is enough to increase physical activity and keep the body healthy at the same time.”

Prepping Your Body for That Dream Hiking Trip

So, what is it about hiking trips that so many people set out each spring with backpacks and hiking boots? Ask some of the over 44 million Americans who went hiking in the spring of 2016, and they will give you different reasons. Some of them enjoy the outdoors with the feel of the sun on their faces and the wind in their hair. Others love the opportunity to lay down the stress of their everyday lives and spend time alone with only their thoughts for company. And, then, there are the nature lovers who like to immerse themselves in the beauty of their surroundings. Of course, hiking trips are great for your health too.

Begin Preparing Your Body Well Before the Trip

Whatever may be your reasons (or, well, excuses) for planning a hiking trip this spring, know that the essential element you must have in top working order is your body. You’ll need to begin conditioning your muscles at least a month before you plan to leave. This factor is especially important if you’ve spent most of the past months indoors indulging in almost no physical activity. Once you have your hiking holiday planned, begin preparing your body accordingly.

Check with Your Doctor for a Clean Bill of Health

Meet with your doctor and talk to her about your plans. She’ll probably run a few tests to assess your cardiovascular health. Hiking lays a lot of stress on your heart and lungs, so she’ll want to ascertain if you’re strong enough to bear the rigor and strain. She might advise you to take up aerobic exercises like jogging, climbing stairs, brisk walking, and running. Of course, you can always use the treadmill, stationary bike, or stair machine to begin preparing for your hiking trip indoors while the weather’s still cold.

Build Your Strength, Stamina, and Endurance Levels

When planning for your hiking trip, make it a point to go on a long walk every single day. A good tip is to buy the hiking boots in advance and train your feet to walk in them. Begin with short-distance walks and build up to longer ones gradually. You’ll find that as your legs become stronger and muscles get toned, walking becomes easier and easier. Covering longer distances each day will seem like a breeze. Don’t rush yourself but let your body set the pace. It’s okay to push yourself just a little, but don’t overdo it.

Plan for the Terrain You Want to Navigate

Having worked out the destination for your hiking trip, train your body to deal with it. Will you be walking on even terrain or are you going to be going uphill and downhill? For instance, if you’re planning to hike in the Swiss Alps, you’ll need to walk on inclines to prepare your upper and lower leg muscles, and also, the gluteal tissues in your buttocks. Most important, since you’ll be carrying a heavy backpack, you need to strengthen your back. Also, plan in advance if you’re going to be walking on paved roads or in the woods on uneven terrain.

Assess the Weight of the Gear You’ll be Carrying

Having conditioned your body for the long walks of your hiking trip, you need to prepare for the weight you’ll carry also. Buy your backpack and assess the weight of the gear you’ll have along. You could also exercise under a professional trainer who can guide you on how to handle the shifting center of gravity when you walk on inclines with a heavy backpack. Load up the stuff you intend to carry and try walking with it. You can make adjustments so that the backpack sits securely and you’re comfortable bearing the weight.

Fuel Your Body with the Right Kind of Foods to Build Stamina

While you train for your hiking trip, you’ll be raising the levels of activity you undergo in a day. To build up muscle mass, you’ll need to eat the right types of food. Your body tends to use carbs and proteins to rebuild the stressed muscles when you rest after a long walk. So, eat more of those. You’re also going to need more of fat so your body can burn it when you exert. Check with a nutrition expert who can guide you on the right foods that are high in carbs and fats and can give you the energy you need. If you intend to introduce any new foods into your diet for the hike, now would be a good time to begin. Condition your digestive system to tolerate these foods, so it doesn’t react to surprises.

Prepare Your Hair and Skin for the Road

Your hair and skin will endure some amount of damage since you’re exposing them to the elements of the sun and wind. Get your hair trimmed and remove all the split ends. Consider having it cut short, so it accumulates less dust, grime, and sweat on the road. Of course, you’ll need to use bandanas and caps for minimum exposure to the sun and dirt.

If your skin is prone to acne, all that sun exposure is going to cause it to break out. You could also notice more of wrinkles and fine lines. Before leaving for your hiking trip, go for deep cleansing treatments, so your pores remain unclogged for the duration of your tour. You could also consider getting dermabrasion facials to clean off all the dead cells.

Maintaining hygiene is another essential. In place of carrying epilators or hair removing creams, think along the lines of a more permanent solution. And, the best solution is to get laser treatments. According to the experts at BHRC, one of the leading aesthetic centers for laser hair removal in Los Angeles, lasers remove the hair at the roots so it cannot grow back. Once the treatment is complete, you can have hair-free skin all through your hiking trip without the need for unnecessary baggage.

Enjoy Every Moment of Your Hiking Trip

Once you prepare and condition your body for your hiking trip, you can only look forward to beautiful environs, the warmth of the sun, the excitement of exploring new places, meeting new people, and a whole lot of memorable experiences. The better prepared you are, the more rewarding will be every moment of your tour.