We all need to take time off - whether it's for vacay or an injury - it happens. Sometimes you've just hit a rut (or winter hibernation anyone?) That being said, just how bad is it to take a week off from you routine? Sadly, according to a recent study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, the amount of physical activity you take off for even a few days can take a toll on your health. The study examined regular exercisers who trekked more than 10,000 steps per day (about the equivalent of about 30 to 60 minutes at the gym plus additional physical activity) They then told participants to cut out any exercise and reduce their activity to less than 5,000 steps per day for five days. So what happened after 5 days? (it's not pretty) In just that short time, volunteers experienced a decrease in blood vessel function, specifically, in their lower legs. They showed a significant reduction in their ability to dilate, which can be a precursor to peripheral artery disease and, possibly, coronary artery disease. Lovely. So, what to do instead? Try and fit as much physical activity in to your day even if you have to skip the workout. If you have a step counter - aim for 10,000/day. If you haven't hit that goal, it just may motivate you to go out for a walk instead of being a couch potato!