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West J Med. 1991 May;154(5):536-8.

Use it or lose it--the hazards of bed rest and inactivity.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.


Professional experience and lay wisdom teach us the benefits of exercise and the hazards of idleness. Yet the myth persists that "bed rest is good for you" when ill or convalescing. Abundant scientific evidence in the past 50 years has demonstrated the specific damage done to each of the body's organ systems by inactivity. Both aging and inactivity lead to strikingly similar kinds of deterioration. I summarize the data from military and veterans' hospitals, rehabilitation experience, aerospace research, and gerontology and review the physiologic and metabolic changes of aging and inactivity, along with strategies to help prevent the iatrogenic complications of bed rest.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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