By Leslie Wade
We all tend to feel a bit stiff when we sit around a lot, but doctors say couch potatoes actually develop stiffer blood vessels from all of that lounging. Now new research indicates this is true for young people as well.
A study released by the American College of Sports Medicine looked at almost 650 children and young adults ages 10 to 24. They found that those who were less physically active had stiffer arteries, which has been linked to the development of heart disease.
Arteries are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. They have muscles within their walls that expand and contract. Researchers say stiffer vessels put young people at higher risk for blood pressure problems and other heart health issues as they enter adulthood.
The researchers studied three groups of adolescents: those of normal weight, those who were obese, and obese youngsters with type 2 diabetes. They found heavier, more sedentary young people had stiffer arteries than their thinner, more physically active peers.
So what can we do about it? Researchers say juveniles need an hour of exercise each day. Brisk walking, jogging or any other type of physical activity that gets the blood pumping can help youth on the road to a healthy adulthood.