Rest is an important component of any training plan. It’s impossible to gain strength and endurance without giving the body a chance to recover. But what happens when we go beyond a couple of days rest? Whether it’s the off-season, a vacation, or even an injury, the body will start to make changes based on reduced activity. Check out the 5 things that happen when you stop working out:
- Your Blood Pressure Rises
When you’re sticking to a regimented training schedule you’ll be slowly working on bringing your blood pressure down. Exercise increases blood flow and arteries widen to allow for greater volume of circulation. However, after 3-months off training the arteries will actually start to narrow and harden, causing blood pressure to rise. The good news is you can reverse these impacts by getting right back into a workout routine. Alternatively, if you’re managing the off season, you can minimize negative impact by completing light exercise. In the case of blood pressure, a little activity goes a long way!
- Your Muscles Shrink
It’s not news that different people respond to different types of training, and muscle growth is easier for some than others. But for the majority, when training stops muscle size and definition will decrease. If you take a month off, you’ll start to see a change. Now it’s important to note that muscle size doesn’t always reflect strength so this might not be as significant as it seems to be physically. Strength is actually more easily maintained even after some time off. However, if size and definition matter to you, then you’ll want be wary of taking a long hiatus from your training program.
- Fasting Blood Sugar Rises
This is an important one! When you stop training there are impacts on the body’s fasting blood sugar levels which are related to how resistant the body is to insulin. Insulin is critical for the body’s use glucose for energy and becoming resistant is a high risk factor for Diabetes. Exercise helps prevent Diabetes by maintaining healthy fasting blood sugar levels and normal insulin responsiveness.
- Your Mood May Be Impacted
When you train your body releases endorphins and other mood enhancing hormones like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These all contribute to that “happy high” you experience after a good workout. When you stop your regular training routine you may notice a “down” or depressed state of mind as a result. What’s more, these hormones and other byproducts of exercise help with the brain’s ability to respond to stress, meaning you might find yourself less able to handle tough situations at work or school as a result of the change to your workout routine. The good news is you can recover your mood easily by getting active!
- Your V02 Max Decreases
Your V02 Max is a measure of your body’s cardiovascular ability. This is commonly noticed when you become out of breath from exertion like huffing and puffing when climbing a flight of stairs. When you stop your training routine your efficiency at processing oxygen to fuel activity is reduced. This is what makes it hard to get back into that cardio routine after taking time off! Unfortunately this can drop off quite quickly and according to research, one week’s break might take 3 weeks to recover. Keep your cardio in check so as not to feel the pains when it’s time to get back to pre-season training, or that pre-vacation workout plan.
As you can see there are lots of things happening in the body when you stop training. This is why it’s so important to consider the right approach for your off-season, and changes to your personal exercise needs due to injury or life changes. If you need help developing your personal program, reach out to us today. We’d love to help you achieve your goals.