Decreases in muscle mass can also raise your diabetes risk, too. It can make you become less sensitive to insulin, he says—meaning that your body would need more and more of the hormone to keep its blood sugar levels in check.
While the effects of the two-week study don’t seem that major, they’re likely to be compounded if your reduction in activity continues long-term, says Cuthbertson. It’s similar to starting a sedentary desk job, where you stay seated all day, commute by car, and don’t get any other exercise throughout the day, either.
It’s also impossible to say whether the effects of inactivity would be the same for guys who lifted or exercised regularly and then drastically cut their activity levels. Higher baseline levels of muscle may protect against some of the decline, though it’s likely they’d still see some detriment—but a separate study looking specifically at that group would need to be done to dig deeper into it, he says.
This article originally appeared on Mens Health