Many people may be disciplined enough to exercise regularly throughout the year. But come the holidays, especially as the year winds down, they may be tempted to slip into couch-potato mode. This temptation must be resisted, because your body won’t thank you for a vacation from exercise — even if it is only for two weeks. It is hard to get fit and easy to lose that fitness. Two new studies of older and younger adults point to significant health risks of even short stints of cutting back on exercise. The research shows that a two-week decrease in physical activity led to dangerous metabolic changes. In some cases, these were reversible with resumption of normal activity levels. In many cases, however, the negative metabolic effects lingered even after participants resumed their normal activity levels. The researchers say cutting back on exercise could set people up for an increased risk of type 2 diabetes — even without a family history. One study, published in June in the journal Di...

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