There are lots of reasons why you fall off the fitness wagon. It can be a waning motivation, which most people go through, a family emergency or an injury. Whichever the case is, quitting exercise can have drastic effects on your body.
But don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re not alone in this journey. Lots of people lost count of the days they fail to work out. Others even forget the right or wrong foods to stuff their stomachs.
The nitty-gritty of life can take over our priorities at times. Kids can be more important than the workout as well as school events and other family or work matters. Then there’s the holiday season. The food, the parties, and family gatherings are just too precious you wouldn’t allow them to pass by without engaging fully in them.
These are just realities of life. Taking the focus out of your fitness goals may sound frustrating but take it easy. It’s not a matter of life and death situation. You can get back to it anytime you want to. For now, let’s take a look at the things that will happen to your body once you quit exercising.
You feel the effects two weeks after a lack of exercise
Isn’t it frustrating that the muscles you worked hard for would be lost just within two weeks of failing to exercise? As harsh as it seems but muscle mass can deteriorate this quick. Along with muscle mass loss, your muscle strength, flexibility, and stamina will also be lost over time.
Don’t lose hope just yet. Spanish researchers say your muscles may lose strength, but it won’t lose its memory. Yes. You heard that right. A ten-pound dumbbell may feel a lot heavier after quitting the gym for a month or more. But your muscles could quickly recover once you get back on track, which means you don’t have to return to square one.
You run out of oxygen pretty much quickly
Exercise can increase your lung capacity and circulation. Once you stop exercising your body naturally loses its efficiency and effectivity at absorbing and using oxygen. So don’t wonder why climbing up a flight of stairs becomes a bit more challenging than when you were still exercising.
Your heart works less efficiently
When you quit exercising, your heart ticks a bit differently, making it less efficient. You may experience running out of breath easily when doing tasks that require more physical exertion.
Exercise professor Michele Olson explains that four days of zero exercise makes your heart work less efficiently. But she also adds there’s no need for you to hit the gym to enable your heart to tick more effectively. Walking as much as you can or cleaning the house as much as you can is enough to make your heart tick healthily. The key is to keep moving to allow your heart to pump more blood to the lungs, brain, and throughout your body.
You have unhealthy food cravings
The right nutrition and exercise are a perfect combination for a healthy and fit body. Without the one, the other will also suffer. Exercise triggers your brain to release happy hormones that enable you to focus your thinking on the bright side of life. Once you no longer exercise, these happy hormones decrease. And what takes charge is the pleasure center of the brain.
This center is also called the reward circuit which doesn’t care about what’s healthy or unhealthy. All it knows is to derive pleasure from what you do and reinforces it.
When you find potato chips and chocolate cookies pleasurable, you will find more ways to suffice your cravings. Besides, eating junks while binge-watching increases pleasure too.
You sleep less effectively
Say goodbye to quality shut-eye. Numerous studies show that there’s a strong link between regular exercise and quality sleep time. Experts explain that exercise makes you feel more awake during the day as it allows more blood flow to the brain. Exercise can also increase your mental capacity and alertness. Hence, a lack of exercise makes your mind foggy and less able to concentrate.
Scientists say that exercise is one of the best weapons against stress. With nothing to combat your stress, your sleep quality will automatically deteriorate.
You get depressed
Since a lot of things have been going on inside you due to a lack of exercise, feeling a bit grumpy is part of it. In short, not exercising greatly affects your mood. When you don’t exercise, your body’s ability to fight stress decreases. Once you’re unable to fight stress, you sleep less. With insufficient sleep, your energy levels drop and so does your mood.
For the sake of feeling better, try to move your body even without going to the gym or following a strict fitness routine. If your schedule is tight, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator or take short walks during breaks. The goal here is not to stay perfectly fit but to enhance your mood. So, do it right away to beat the blues.
You increased your injury risks
With the increased muscle strength you get from exercise, your ability to move and carry heavy things also increases, and thus decreasing muscle strains and injuries. But when you stop exercising, your muscles will lose these gains. This is called deconditioning.
As your muscles start to lose their strength, your movements would be accompanied by aches and pains. There’s also a possibility of muscle strain when you lift heavier objects with the wrong position or move a bit more quickly such as sprinting or running.
Your motivation wanes
Skipping workouts for a long time comes with declining motivation. The longer you stop, the harder it is to get back. But let it not stop you from becoming your healthier self once again. Start with exercises that excite you like taking short walks with a loved one or swimming with your kids or buddies. This allows your muscles to crave for more movement until you find yourself back on track again.
There’s also a possibility that low testosterone levels affect the way you handle your fitness. One symptom of low testosterone is decreased energy, which can have a big impact on your endurance and stamina.
Luckily, boosting your testosterone levels is not as hard as it used to because the best testosterone boosting supplements are already on the market today. These can help you when you struggle with your workout as it helps you boost your confidence, increases your energy, enhances your libido, supports lean muscle mass, improves peak blood flow as well as maximizes your performance, vitality, and vigor.