What Happens In Your Body When You Stop Exercising?


What Happens In Your Body When You Stop Exercising?

Apr 26, 2015 //

It can happen to the best of us: we’ll find ourselves miserably entrenched in impossibly strenuous workweeks that leave granules of time for recreational activities, let alone exercise! So, some of us will accept the fate, and seize our free time with hungry hands, and do most anything except take ourselves to the gym to put in yet more work. It’s okay, don’t come down too hard on yourself, but at least commit such a decision well aware of the implications that’ll arise further on down the road.

When You Quit Cold Turkey

For instance, let’s quickly look at what exercise scientist Wayne Westcott told Women's Health: "In a study of beginners who exercised for two months, their strength increased by 46 percent, and when they stopped training for two months, they lost 23 percent—half the gains they'd made," he said. In other words, just a couple months off the weight/treadmill grind can cut those strength gains you might’ve made in half. In half! Though, let’s not get too carried away with the negative ramification that comes of neglecting gym time. Even if you decide to forego the gym for as long as two months, you’re still retaining at least 23% of those hard fought gains, and indeed that counts for something.

When You Swap One Workout for Another

So what happens to your body if you swap out a dedicated weekly yoga routine, for say, a high intensity P90X workout regimen? Simply put, the strength and skills you accumulate in one performed exercise most often won’t be interchangeable to another entirely different field of exercise. To elaborate, let’s say you go about performing the P90X for a month or two, but eventually lose interest or burn out on the madness altogether, and you decide you’ll go back to yoga. Sure, you’ve worked your way into great shape in the P90X realm, but you’ve more than likely lost quite a bit of strength and flexibility that you'd previously cultivated while dedicating yourself to yoga. Thus, we propose that you don’t altogether swap one workout for the other but attempt a balance. Maybe switch back and forth between the two, every other day. You’ll avoid losing that which you divested so much of your time working for!

When You're Too Injured to Exercise

Moving on, what if you sustained a serious injury—maybe a severely sprained ankle or a torn shoulders ligament? In this case, strength loss is unavoidable. You’ve been off that muscle (or muscles) for an extended period of recovery time, and thus neglected using it altogether. You’ve got to be extremely careful, and ease back into putting stress on the muscle in question. Hitting that treadmill, or weight circuit with your previous impassioned rhythm would set you up for debilitating soreness or in some worse cases re-injury altogether.

Why You Should Keep Working Out

Let’s look now to the general health effects not working out imparts upon your body. Studies say an excess of just 500 calories per day can translate into a gain of one pound a week or four pounds a month. These situations involving excessively consumed amounts of calories most often occur when you haven't visited the gym. Also, remember: The more weight you gain, the greater stress inflicted on your knees and joints when you do work out. This results in the chipping away of quintessential cartilage.

In all, we’ve considered the effects of not working out and how your body responds—it’s all fairly grim. Thus we implore you to consider all the alternatives to not working out before settling for a weekly routine that neglects an upkeep in your physical fitness level. 

Matt Staff

Matt’s a fiery spirited, ginormous red head with an insatiable appetite to challenge you to reassess your lifestyle choices through reading relatable prose, and adept-non-condescending advice, that almost make you feel as if you're at a pub talking life with the guy.

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