Stopping Your Workout Regimen Can Have Detrimental Effects on Your Body

January 22, 2017 | 2,464 views

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People who have incorporated exercise into their lifestyle have been known to occasionally backslide and stop working out. Sometimes it’s because of legitimate reasons, sometimes because they’ve lost the motivation to keep exercising.

It is a shame though, because by turning their backs on exercising, they’re also turning their backs on the countless benefits of exercise.

Exercise as a Mood Booster and Cognitive Support

Studies have shown that exercising not only helps in the function of the skeletal and muscular systems, but it’s also essential in the maintenance of cognitive function. Exercise multiplies nerve cells, which in turn strengthens nerve interconnection and protects them from damage.

Getting regular exercise also helps decrease heart and blood vessel diseases. It can also slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease because of the way it manipulates the damaging proteins that are found in the brain.

Exercising impacts the production of the neurotransmitters that are responsible for mood control. These neurotransmitters include serotonin, dopamine, glutamate and endorphins. Because of this, exercising may improve or even combat depression.

Regular exercise helps in ensuring that you’ll have a sunnier and less sullen disposition. A 2012 study showed that productivity and happiness spiked in people who include exercise as part of their daily routines. The study compared the brains of the people who exercise and those who do not, and the results showed a considerable difference between the cognitive function and brain activity between the two groups.

You Lose These Benefits After Stopping Regular Exercise

The problem is that the health and cognitive benefits of exercise do not last forever. The moment you stop exercising, the benefits will begin to wear off. After you stop the physical activity, you can expect that your body will start to change or even deteriorate in as little as two weeks.

The first part of the body to be affected is the brain. Endurance runners who stopped exercising and started to experience changes in their brain’s activity after just 10 days. The brain’s hippocampus, the part that is responsible for memory and emotions, exhibited a lower rate of blood flow.

Then, after about two weeks, endurance begins to suffers. The VO2 max, or the maximal oxygen intake, decreases to up to 10 percent in the first two weeks that you stop exercising, and up to 20 percent after three months. The VO2 functions as a measurement of someone’s endurance and gauges the amount of oxygen that their body can expend in one full minute of exhaustive activity. Exercise’s effects on blood pressure and glucose levels also suffer once you stop.

When you stop with your workout regimen you lose strength. After a few weeks of quitting, you’ll notice a decrease in your muscle mass and muscle tone. Along with the decrease in muscle mass, your muscle strength will start to decline. This leads to weight gain, as the body starts to store fat after a few months of quitting.

But how do seasoned athletes or trained men fare compared to newbies? When it comes to strength, seasoned athletes exhibited a faster ability to bounce back, reacquire their skills and get back in shape. When speaking of endurance, on the other hand, athletes showed a decrease of up to 20 percent in their VO2 levels in two weeks, while newbies lost the same amount as the athletes after four weeks.

Recuperating After a Workout

Remember that there’s a difference between stopping exercise and resting in between workouts. Your body needs rest from exhaustive activities in order to recuperate. Stopping for an extended period of time, however, causes your body to adjust to a sedentary lifestyle. How long you should rest in order not to lose the majority of the benefits that you’ve worked so hard for depends on various factors, including age, fitness levels and type of activity.

One of the essential things to remember is that you should keep your workout balanced. You shouldn’t take part in workouts that are too exhausting and too frequently.

Remember that the intensity of your workout should be inversely proportional to the time that you spend doing it. Take note that the higher the intensity of the workout you take part in, the less time you should be doing it. You should also adjust the time that you spend recuperating in order to stop your body from burning out. Here are some acceptable reasons to skip a workout:

  • Sickness. While workouts can actually have positive effects on your body when you have a slight cold (e.g. raising your body temperature, helping fight off viruses), you should avoid working out once you develop a fever or symptoms that are “below the neck.” Avoid exercising when you’re heavily fatigued and when you’re coughing, vomiting or have muscle pain. Let your body rest and recuperate instead of subjecting it to more stress.
  • Injury. When you have an injury to any part of your body, avoid working out that area. This can lead to further damage and can cause more pain for you. If you want to continue working out, consult a physical therapist to learn your options.
  • Exhaustion. Skip your workout day if you’re sleep-deprived or exhausted. Waking up in the early morning and cutting your sleep short for a workout would mean that you’re sacrificing one for the other. Sleep and exercise are essential to your health, but one cannot be seen as more important than the other. Get enough sleep, because your body needs it as much as it needs exercise.

When it’s your off-day or rest day, I recommend that you still take part in light activities that would require you to move, even in a limited manner. Just because it’s your rest day doesn’t mean that you should be completely sedentary. Adjust the intensity and the type of your workout in order to keep your body healthy and also allow it time to heal from your usual high-intensity workouts.

You can also skip workout when your schedule is jam-packed with activities. But don’t make this as a frequent excuse to get out of working out. Once you start skipping too much workout days, you’ll be depriving your body of a healthier lifestyle because of your excuses.

If you always find yourself making excuses not to exercise, consider changing up your workout. Enjoy your workout with a few tweaks to your usual activities and you’ll surely keep yourself motivated.

Intermittent Fasting to Help You Lose Gained Weight

If you’re trying to keep yourself on track after a long hiatus from exercise, intermittent fasting is a good way to jumpstart your body into losing the weight you’ve added on. Intermittent fasting refers to limiting your mealtimes to specific hours of the day, limiting your intake of food to a seven-hour window. You then fast for the remaining hours. This frees your digestive system from the stress of processing food that’s constantly being ingested.

If you’re trying to go back to a workout routine you’ve given up at some point in your life, start to transition back to a healthier lifestyle. It’s never too late to start exercising again. For more information about the effects of stopping your exercise regimen, read “What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Exercising.”

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