Microblog #5 REST 2.0
In 2019, Sara Oikawa and colleagues from McMaster University in Canada, penned a review article on a concept called "Step Reduction" and how reduced activity affects muscle health as we age. This excellent article examines the physiological changes which occur as a result of too much 'rest'.
Impact in young adults?
As an example, healthy young adults reduced their daily steps from 10 000 to less than 1300 per day, for a period of three weeks. They did this by catching buses instead of walking and using the lift instead of stairs. The effects on these young people weren't good:
- decreased insulin sensitivity
- negative impact on the way lipids were metabolised
- increased intra-abdominal fat mass.
Impact in older adults? (think - our ageing workforce here)
Similar to their younger counterparts, healthy older adults who reduced their steps to less than 1000 steps per day had impaired glucoregulation (how their bodies processed energy from food), as well as:
- presence of markers of inflammation,
- loss of skeletal muscle mass, from which older adults didn't completely recover - even when returning to normal activity.
Ageing skeletal muscle does not recover as readily - without some extra help.
Even within "healthy ageing adults", a loss of muscle mass of about 1% a year occurs from about 50 years of age. So when an injury or illness affects an older person, the impact can be more profound unless well managed. Good management includes avoiding too much 'Rest', plus a well designed, safe recovery at work.