Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Are you letting yourself go?

I found this one interesting just because it reflects much of my experience. I can think of several friends who were once fit and healthy while at university but who now are not so impressive physically.

The thing is that the researchers here point out that the change in body composition and fitness as people leave university and get older is not inevitable - it is attributed to lifestyle. It does not have to happen! You just need to keep exercising and eat better. I am also aware of how many friends actually drink more...or at least drink more habitually. Anyway, read on.....

Changes over Four Years in Body Composition and Oxygen Uptake of Young Adult Males after University Graduation

Lifestyle changes and challenges following university graduation often present a sharp contrast to the relatively free and basically pleasant university life enjoyed by the typical college student. Adaptation to a new work environment, relocation to a new community, concerns of marriage and family, personal finances, including income and budgeting (automobile and mortgage payments, savings, etc.), and adjustment to independent living result in an unfamiliar schedule of duties, often too sedentary in nature.
The aim of this study was to analyse the changes observed in young working professionals by comparing selected body composition estimates, and physiological working capacity variables at the time of university graduation and four years later.
Anthropometric and functional cardio-respiratory exercise test data were collected in 26 physically active (but non-athletic) volunteer males at the time of their university graduation in 2000 and 4 years later in 2004. By the end of this four-year period body weight, body mass index (BMI), the sum of 5 skinfold thicknesses, and relative body fat content increased significantly. Both mean BMI and weight-related body fat content were within the categorized risk range at the time of the second data collection. Parallel with unfavourable changes in body composition, peak minute ventilation, aerobic power, oxygen pulse, and maximum treadmill running distance had decreased significantly during this time. We attributed the significant changes observed mainly to the dramatically changed lifestyle. The subjects could not maintain their previous level of habitual physical activity.

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