How Soon Do You Lose Your Fitness? Here’s the Answer

average-to-athleteWorking out can be just as mentally exhausting as it is physically exhausting. Getting motivated to get off the couch and go exercise can be tough – even for the most dedicated athletes. But what happens to your body when you skip an exercise session? A lot more than you may think:

When you haven’t exercised in a few days…

Not a big deal. If you work out on a regular basis your body will enjoy the rest. In fact, the time you take off allows your muscles to repair and recover, which ultimately makes you stronger. However, even these “off days” should include some light activity such as walking or cycling, while limiting consumption of alcohol or greasy foods that can impair recovery and prolong muscle soreness. In short, keep moving, eat right, and hydrate.

When you haven’t exercised in one week…

You may start feeling a little “softer” than you normally would. When muscle fibers aren’t being used, they tend to lose their resting tone and more fluid is retained. You may not even notice any significant changes in your strength or cardiovascular fitness.

When you haven’t exercised in a couple weeks…

Your fitness begins to decline. The number of mitochondria – the microscopic “power plant” that fuel your muscles cells – diminish, and your cardiovascular endurance begins to decline. Going for a long walk or climbing a flight of stairs may make your legs burn and leave you more out of breath than usual. If you’ve been sick for a couple weeks, don’t panic. Studies have found that in fit runners, even after two weeks of inactivity, only 6% VO2 Max (the ability to carry and use oxygen) is lost.

When you haven’t exercised in a month…

The majority of cardio and strength gains from the last few months have disappeared. If your diet remains unchanged, your body will continue to store the surplus of calories not burned during your typical exercise sessions, leading to decreased lean muscle mass and a greater body fat percentage. Let’s not forget to mention the positive effects that exercise has on releasing “feel good” chemicals in the brain, which positively influences sleep quality while reducing stress.

When you haven’t exercised in a few months…

Your metabolism has now joined your cardio and strength… and left the building. Not only does your body burn less calories throughout the day but you may experience more fatigue with your usual daily activities. Your heart even becomes less efficient and is forced to beat harder and faster in order to transport oxygen to the rest of the body’s tissues.

When you haven’t exercised in a year…

Your body-fat percentage has likely risen. You may notice greater difficulties in the way you move and function due to decreased strength. More importantly, you have now put yourself at greater risk for serious health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, sleep disorders, depression, and heart attacks and stroke. However, the good news is that everyone can benefit from exercise no matter what your age or abilities are.

 

Unfortunately, fitness is one of those unfair things in life, like why does chocolate have all the calories but Brussel sprouts don’t? With fitness, it takes a lot longer to gain it (and maintain it) than it does to lose it. The good news is, to use the old saying, life is a marathon and not a sprint; so if you’ve lost your fitness recently or if you’re just ready to get more active, you can always start anytime. If you have obstacles holding you back like old injuries, aches and pains, movement issues, etc., seeing a physical therapist is one of the best ways to take charge of your health. You’ll learn how to improve your condition and help reach your goals, all under the care of an expert.

 

If you’re ready to improve your health and need some guidance and a little help along the way, Body One Physical Therapy is ready to get you there! We’re locally owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indianapolis: North Meridian, Fishers, and Zionsville. Your journey to better health starts today, call or click now: https://aaa.bodyonept.com/locations/

 

 

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