Fitness is not as much a priority to all of us, as it is to some. We trudge along with a barely-there fitness regime and when occasion would have it, make up excuses for not sticking to it. For those who are unmotivated, it is very easy to fluctuate between staying fit and slumming it. All of the worldly preaching about the importance of exercising flies above our head, and we procrastinate like nobody’s business. We see no harm in taking a break from our fitness routine, thinking, “So what if I don’t hit the gym for a couple of days? I’m not going to gain the weight I lost.” But here’s a fun fact, routine is language for our body. It provides our organs with the stability required to function.
Messing that up is like throwing the biggest puzzler in its face. Don’t let your indecision or lack of commitment confuse your body’s system. Let’s take a look at what happens to you when you stop working out.
Firstly, working out stretches your muscles and makes you more flexible. The longer the time you prolong your break, the stiffer your muscles could get; therefore discouraging you even more from resuming your routine. You could also be undoing all of the body-toning that has occurred. Secondly, exercising increases the blood flow in your body and helps you reduce the blood pressure by widening the arteries. If you are not consistent with your exercising, then you risk increasing your blood pressure to unhealthy levels. So even if you were to take a break from heavy workout sessions, make sure to always be on the move and not lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Thirdly, exercising, in general, is good for converting insulin into glucose energy. Your muscles take in all that glucose and help maintain a good stamina. But the moment you stop working out, these muscles start becoming a little resistant towards the insulin. They won’t be able to process it into glucose and so the sugar becomes body fat. Your metabolism slows down, reducing your body’s capacity to hold alcohol. Further, you could also be at risk of getting diabetes or heart diseases. Not only is it not good to pause your workout for long, but the results could be detrimental to you.
A British study proves that just 2 weeks of being immobile can reduce your muscle mitochondria to the same extent that 6 weeks of exercise increases it. There’s more to your health than just physical fitness. Your mental well being is also ensured by regular activity or exercising. It releases endorphins that make you feel good about yourself. So when you stop working out, for whatever reason it may be, your mental stability is challenged. Feelings of disinterest, inertia, grumpiness are all associated with a couch-potato lifestyle. Exercising can make you feel sharp because it pumps oxygen to the brain. So it’s possible that during your time off, you feel sluggish and unable to focus on things properly.
The endurance you had built up while working out diminishes steadily. Your lungs are unable to hold as much air as before, which takes a toll on your stamina. “Within 2 weeks of avoiding the gym, your VO2 max—a measure of fitness that assesses how much oxygen your working muscles can use—decreases by as much as 20 percent, says exercise physiologist Stacy Sims, Ph.D, M.Sc.” (“The Cost to Your Health,” 2015) We all know how tiring a good workout routine can be. And that helps us get a good night’s sleep. But when we stop working out, there’s no strain on our body. Consequently, we don’t tire out as much and hence our sleep cycles could also get disrupted.
From all of the above mentioned repercussions, it should be fairly easy for you to decide what is best for you. Not working out is definitely bad for you. But being inconsistent with your workout can be even more horrible. If there are specific reasons as to why you can’t workout for a period of time, consult a physicist and take steps necessary to avoid the ill-effects of stopping your workout. During that period, don’t experiment with your diet and stick to a healthy one that has a good balance of all nutrients. Don’t pause your workout, unless absolutely necessary.