Spending time sitting down and doing very little could do lasting damage to your health as per new research. Now it is like “no work and no play makes jack a depressed boy.”

As adults hardly take 10,000 steps a day thanks to the so-called technical advancements and unwillingness to move around, it has lead to a drastic reduction in strength and health.

Older people are especially vulnerable to loneliness and isolation which can cause physiological changes. What’s worse? These changes might not ever reverse! Elderly people may not be lonely by choice, it’s sometimes very hard for them to get out of the circumstances they are in. Hundreds of thousands of elderly people feel lonely because they are being cut off.

In a trial involving 47 adults, half of whom were aged 60 or over and the rest in their 20s and 30s, there was a rise of 20% in fat levels in the younger group while 28% in the older ones. All were told to restrict activity levels to just 1,500 steps daily, for two weeks. The strength of legs was reduced by almost 5% in the younger group while more than 8% in the pensioners.

Not only this, there was a fall in mitochondrial and cardiorespiratory functions of the body as well, more than 5% in the younger group and more than 10% in the older age group.

The study by the University of Liverpool is unique because it looked at healthy people who suddenly reduced their activity levels – the kind of changes which could happen because of the festive season, or a period of bad weather or illness.

Christmas is considered to be the loneliest time of the year for more than 1.5 million elders, as per New Age UK report. Many would have lost their partners or now live with some illness, hence do not have a strong support network. This fraternity gradually might experience a drop in bone density, total body mass & lean leg mass. They might also fall prey to sedentary habits. These unfortunate reasons are now turning half of a million middle-aged adults into lazy & inactive people who spend a great deal of time watching television while not keeping themselves fit enough.

Huw Edwards, chief executive of fitness body UKActive, said:

Daily movement should be a priority for everyone, whether it’s the summer holidays, a working day or the Christmas period.

Everybody deserves a festive and fun Christmas, especially after what has felt like a challenging year, but we would encourage people to maintain active lives through the holidays and into the New Year.

Adults should get practical tips to handle the feeling of loneliness. Christmas should be an opportunity for all of us to catch up with our family and friends, so please make sure you are doing enough to make everyone in and around you feel special.

Eating well and getting enough sleep helps too to cope with Christmas stress and to beat loneliness. Merry Christmas!


Ross is a computer science engineer, an MBA and an ardent soccer fan.

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