Exercise is something that everyone needs, regardless of age. Whether it’s a run around your neighborhood or lifting weights at the gym, the Mayo Clinic recommends getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise each week. Sometimes, you may miss a workout here and there. Missing a single workout isn’t going to reverse all the progress you’ve made, but missing multiple workouts can have adverse effects on your body.
What Happens After Days, Weeks, Months
When you stop exercising, various things happen to your body at different times. People think that the changes to your body happen far down the line, but that’s not actually the case. According to the University of Michigan, three days after discontinuing exercise, your blood sugar starts to rise again, which can then affect other parts of your body.
Two weeks after stopping exercise, your blood pressure increases and your muscle power decreases. If your blood pressure starts to rise, that’s a warning sign for other health problems and will need to be monitored. When your muscle power decreases, it becomes harder for your body’s workout performance to return to where it was before you stopped exercising.
A month after discontinuing exercise, your endurance decreases. Similarly to when your muscle power decreases, when your endurance decreases, it will be harder and will take longer to return to your body’s workout performance. When you start exercising again you will have to build up that endurance and muscle memory again. After three to six weeks, not exercising begins to affect your memory. While memory loss from stopping exercise doesn’t mean you’ll have a memory loss disorder like Alzheimer’s or dementia, memory loss is something that should be taken seriously and could lead to something more serious as life goes on.
How to Keep up with Exercise
With my patients, I like to suggest getting physical activity in short spurts during the day, instead of relying only on big, scheduled workouts. Work in simple exercises like push-ups and lunges into your routine as well as walking more, taking stairs, and trying a stand-up desk. Get outside when you can, too. I previously recommended a few healthy activities that you and your whole family can do and have fun doing it. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute shows different types of physical activities. They break down common chores see decide whether they be considered exercise.
So, if you miss a workout, don’t fret about it. But if a few days pass and you still haven’t jumped back on the fitness train, it’s time to start back up again so the work you’ve been doing on your body doesn’t go backward.
If You Have to Go a Long Time Without Exercise
Sometimes people take time out from exercise because they have to. Maybe you’re recovering from an injury or surgery, for example. How can you stay healthy and mitigate the negative effects?
First, talk with a doctor and possibly a physical therapist. There may be some exercise you can do without over-straining areas that need rest or healing. You may still be able to walk or do gentle yoga.
Remember, there are many aspects to your health besides physical strength and endurance. Even if you can’t exercise at all, focus on your nutrition. Plan a healthy, balanced diet, perhaps taking in fewer calories than usual. Look for supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps. In addition, try meditation or floating to reduce stress, or engage in activity that strengthens your brain!
Remember, while exercise is important, it is one aspect of a holistic approach to living well. If you would like a personalized plan, please contact us to arrange an appointment.
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