What happens to your body when you stop exercising during holidays

If you decided to stop working out during these long winter holidays, you might want to reconsider. The first negative changes in your body start happening 10-14 days after you completely stopped exercising. The good news is these changes are reversible.

1. Decrease of the body mass and muscle strength

Without training, the muscles lose their ability to accumulate glycogen, a source of power, which your body doesn’t need in a resting state. In other words,your body can lie on the couch watching movies with less muscle bulk.

2. Decrease of strength and overall endurance

After just 14 days, you might have a hard time climbing a flight of stairs or keeping up with your colleagues during a soccer game. You may blame laziness for that, but you feel exhausted because the stores of glycogen in your muscles have been decreased. In order not to overexercise (which is actually even worse), you need to restore your glycogen levels gradually. Even if you don’t notice a change in your speed or strength, you might experience a sharp rise in your blood pressure and blood glucose levels.


3. Changing of fat/muscles ratio

Your clothes might still fit you just fine, but don’t get too excited about it. When you lose muscle mass, especially if you’re consuming too many calories, it will inevitably lead to increasing fat mass. Plus, your skin health will worsen, too. Even elite athletes aren’t immune to these changes.A 2012 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that competitive swimmers who took a five-week break from their training experienced a 12% increase in their levels of body fat, and saw a boost in their body weight and waist circumference. Keep in mind that they weren’t totally sedentary,they still did some light and moderate exercise! Another study found that elite Taekwondo athletes who took an eight-week hiatus from exercise experienced an increase in their levels of body fat and a decrease in muscle mass, too.

4. Impairment of motion coordination and losing of motor skills

About a month later (some people may experience this earlier depending on their level of training), alterations in nervous system start happening. During exercising a lot of motor neurons connect to the muscles. These neurons die when not involved, so the movements become less accurate. So don’t be surprised when you won’t be able to do squatting on an unstable surface, after a long break. And speaking about nervous system – the longer you postpone getting back to trainings, the more difficult it will be to do that.

5. Decrease of heart work efficiency

One of the most essential benefits you get from a regular exercising is a healthy heart, which becomes bigger, its walls thicken, and a heart rate resting and when active decreases. Of course, the structure of a cardiac muscle won’t change in a month, but you’ll feel some alterations in a work of cardiovascular system: high heart rhythm, light arrhythmia, apnoea and unstable breathing.


6. Changes in thework of your brain

According to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, even a short break from your workout might cause changes to the brain, in particular a reduction in blood flow to the hippocampus, the part of the brain that’s associated with memory and emotion.
What can you do to prevent all of these negative changes in your body? Don’t ditch training completely. Do some type of activity every day.Just make your training routine easier, exercise at home without weight – the point is not to allow yourself resting more than 10 days, and your body will thank you for that.
And a little advice: after a long break (more than 10 days), reduce the amount of exercising in half, until you get into shape again.

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