Weekly Wellness: What happens when I stop working out?
Some of us made it through January and February and kept our resolution about creating our workout routines. If that is you, way to go! If you have fallen off the workout-wagon, you might be wondering if you’ve lost progress. Let’s discuss further…
For those of us who have been exercising regularly and are in a moderate or higher conditioning level (i.e. you work out 4 to 6 times a week), if you take a few days off (maybe even a week) you probably won’t lose much progress. In all actuality, your body might need the rest and you will come back even stronger. However, if you are a beginner in the exercise routine game, if you are off the routine for a week, you may lose your motivation. (We don’t want that.)
What about beyond a week of inactivity? Within two weeks of inactivity, aerobic conditioning can start to decline. The more we train, the more efficient our lungs and heart become. When we stop exercising for an extended period of time, we start to gradually lose that efficiency.
When it comes to strength training, a couple of weeks of rest doesn’t impact as negatively as aerobically. There is quite a bit of conflicting research when it comes to losing muscle mass, because the rates will vary based on many factors (i.e. age, sex, original muscle mass, etc.).
So, when life gets in the way and it looks like we will be missing our routine, what can we do? Research shows that it is better to get in a few shorter, higher-intensity workouts than skipping completely. Instead of skipping for a couple of weeks, cut back on your sessions, up your intensity and get it done!