You may not recognize just how important workout routines are to your health and fitness until you stop exercising.
Our caveman ancestors were physically active and got daily exercise without participating in an exercise program. Many of us make up for the lack of a strenuous lifestyle by working out regularly.
What Happens after You Stop Exercising
What you experience if you stop exercising will depend on how long you have been exercising before you discontinue the activity. Those who are extremely fit will take longer to notice the effects of stoppage compared to those who have exercised only a little.
However, many people experience a decrease in cardio ability, strength and overall fitness levels, along with weight gain. After becoming inactive for four to six weeks, here’s what you can expect:
- A decrease in aerobic exercise will result in a 25% to 45%, decrease in oxidative enzymes, which leads to a decrease in energy.
- Within two days of stopping exercise, there is a 5% to 12% decrease in blood volume, which is directly responsible for rapid decrease in cardio function. With less blood volume there is less blood pumped per minute causing a decrease in cardiac output, and an increase in beats/minute leading to an increase in heart rate.
- When you stop exercising, there is a 9% decrease in the oxygen uptake to your muscles. When you stop resistance or strength training you will experience a decrease in muscle size and a decrease in lean body mass. In addition, when exercising stops, there is a decrease in the cross-sectional area of your muscle.
- With less exercise, the body’s sensitivity to insulin is decreased, which leads to a quick reduction in the uptake of glucose.
- When a person is participating in aerobic exercise of moderate intensity, the body will primarily use fat as the source of energy. When you stop exercising, the primary source of energy will be carbohydrates and fat burning is minimal.
- Weight gain commonly occurs when exercise is stopped. According to a study published in “Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise” in February 2008, you will not immediately lose the weight by restarting your exercise program.
How to Stick to Your Exercise Regime
When at all possible, stick to your workout program. Here are some guidelines that can help you do so and continue to enjoy the benefits of exercising.
- Establish small goals that you can achieve.
- Identify a key motive for your exercising. For example, lose weight, develop lean muscle or heart health.
- Remember to reward yourself when you meet your goals.
- Make sure your exercise regime is enjoyable and has enough variety to keep you interested.
- Use a log or charts to record your exercise achievements.
- Choose an exercise program where your risk of injury is minimal.
You may not realize just how important exercise is to you until you stop participating. The benefits of exercise affect your emotional and physical well-being, too.
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