Why It’s Best to Maintain Those Gains
You got into a great gym routine during the winter months, but now that the weather’s turning warm you’re starting to slack off. Sound familiar? It’s a common problem but one that you’ll want to avoid. Sportsbarn trainer and life coach Casey Wiseman tells us why.
Your muscles will shrink.
“Your muscle mass declines after about two weeks of complete rest,” says Wiseman. Although short periods of rest are good, and even recommended, staying sedentary for too long will reverse the progress you’ve made. And, it takes longer to rebuild muscle mass than it took to lose it. “It can take double the time to gain the mass back, depending on your age and how long you’ve been training,” Wiseman says. “The older you get, the harder it is.”
You’ll lose your breath.
This has to do with your VO2 max, or maximal oxygen consumption. “It’s a measure of your fitness level and how much oxygen your working muscles use,” explains Wiseman. “It decreases by about 20% within two weeks.” That means taking that flight of steps to your apartment will leave you a lot more winded when you stop working out than when you’re hitting the gym regularly.
Did You Know?
If your fitness level is high, it will take longer for your muscles to shrink, or atrophy. If you’re a workout newbie, you’ll lose your muscles quicker.
Your mood will change.
Working out can lead to shaping up – a great way to feel better about your appearance. “When you’re working out, and you make that a part of your day, it’s a great way to keep your confidence and energy level up,” says Wiseman. Plus, being active stimulates brain chemicals that leave you feeling happy and relaxed. Without a workout, you might lack those feel-good vibes. “It only takes about 20 to 30 minutes a day to make a difference, and even small changes have an impact,” Wiseman says.
Did You Know?
According to Harvard Health Publications, a review of studies stretching back to 1981 concluded that regular exercise can improve the mood in people with mild to moderate depression. It also may play a supporting role in treating severe depression.
Metabolism will slow down.
“Your muscles will lose their fat-burning potential, and your metabolism slows down,” explains Wiseman. This will cause you to gain weight, putting back on those pounds you worked hard to shed. As with muscle mass, it could take double the amount of working out to gain it back as it took to lose it.
Blood pressure will rise.
Your blood pressure is higher on days you don’t work out than on the days you do. “To keep blood pressure from rising, you have to exercise on a regular basis,” advises Wiseman.
According to The Mayo Clinic, it takes one to three months for regular exercise to have an impact on blood pressure. Stop, and those benefits will diminish. For some people, exercising is enough to reduce the need for blood pressure medication.
You might find it harder to sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, physical activity impacts overall quality of sleep. One study found that people sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day when getting at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. Reap these benefits when working out, but stop and you might experience a more restless night, coupled with lowered alertness during the day.