How Skipping a Few Days at the Gym Can Impact Your Health

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Exercise Breaks and Your HealthDid you know that taking some time away from your exercise routine can be beneficial? Yes, anywhere from a day or two, up to a week, can give your body the rest it needs to recharge, recover, and come back better.

But, at the other end of the spectrum, in far too many cases, one week off can easily lead to 10 days, then two weeks, and so on and so forth. Soon after, all the momentum and benefits you gained can quickly disappear, and you’re right back where you started.

No Time to Exercise Today?

When times get busy, fitness is often the first thing people do away with, because it’s easy to come up with excuses. Maybe you don’t have the time or energy to go for a walk or a jog, the gym is too crowded, or it’s the season finale of Dancing with the Stars. But when you neglect fitness and activity for two weeks or longer, your body notices and changes occur.

After about two weeks without exercise, your body will begin to lose lean muscle mass (good weight), your level of cardiovascular fitness will decrease, and you’ll also experience lower levels of insulin sensitivity. None of these things are good for your health and they can all happen relatively quickly.

Of course, the fitter you are, the longer it might take for changes to take place. If you’ve been exercising for years, the changes will be slower than if you’ve been doing it for less time.

Ease Back Into Your Workout Routine

If you have taken time away from your normal exercise routine for an extended period, it’s important to ease back into things. Because you have not been using certain muscles, you’ll surely notice a drop off in your strength, endurance, and abilities, so don’t force things and increase your risk of injury. Take some time to re-acclimate yourself and work your way back to where you were in a slow, steady, and safe fashion.

For example, if you performed resistance exercise, you were using your type-2 “fast twitch” muscles. These are the muscles that grow under tension through resistance training. They are why your biceps feel larger after you exercise. When you stop this type of training and these muscles are no longer active, they lose mass.

On the other hand, endurance training uses your type-1 “slow twitch” muscles. When you stop endurance training, the effects aren’t as great, because you utilize these type-1 muscles every day when you walk, grab something from your desk, or perform any motion.

That being said, when you do endurance exercise, type-2 “a” muscles act as type-1 fibers, so if you cut back on endurance exercise—like running or jogging—these muscles will rescind and performance will decrease.

When you keep up with your exercise routine, you stay strong, retain muscle mass, and maintain insulin sensitivity. All of this can help prevent diabetes, improve your heart function, and keep blood pressure at healthy levels. So if you’ve taken some time off, get back to it and experience all the benefits exercise has to offer!

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Source for Today’s Article:
Fetters, K.A., “What happened to your body by skipping the gym this winter?” CNN web site, March 24, 2015; http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/23/health/body-skipping-gym/index.html, last accessed March 25, 2015.

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