July 6th, 2022
What Happens When You Stop Exercising?
We know exercise is good for us. But you must exercise consistently in order to reap the benefits. Sometimes life does get in the way. If and when that happens, the important thing is to pick up where you left off as soon as you can, while aiming to minimize these blips.
Below is an overview of what happens when you do stop exercising – it is our hope that this info will be an extra motivator to stay the course, even when it’s hard to do so.
When you workout regularly, you typically gain muscle mass—or at the very least, maintain it. When you stop, it will decline. Why is this important? Well, muscle isn’t just important for strength or metabolism; it also impacts your energy levels. Here’s how: Muscle tissue is associated with having more mitochondria, which are considered the powerhouses of your cells. The more of these you have, the more energy your body can produce, and the more energy you feel.
Without muscle, you, inevitably, have fewer mitochondria, contributing to decreased energy levels.
Weakness and/or Stiffness
As the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. If your muscles aren’t activated regularly, you will lose muscle mass and strength, which will have an impact on your functional strength.
On top of this, you may experience increased joint stiffness because the body produces less lubrication when you aren’t moving your joints regularly.
A Decline in Cardiovascular & Respiratory Health
Capillaries are important for carrying blood and oxygen to the areas of the body that need it. Whereas exercise causes a person’s red blood cell count to increase, stopping decreases this count which, in turn, can impact your overall cardiovascular health.
Additionally, your VO2max – which is your maximum rate of oxygen consumption – decreases, a sign that your respiratory health is decreasing. Unfortunately, not exercising can put you at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and pulmonary disorders.
Decline in Mood
The connection between physical and mental health has been well-documented. It is very common to experience a mood decline when you stop exercising, which can pose challenges for your overall mental health, and negatively impact your quality of life and well-being.
What Happens in the Long-Term?
Not exercising doesn’t just have deficits in the short term. In the long-term, you might notice:
- Decreased coordination, increasing your risk of falls and injury
- Slower recovery from injuries and pain
- Decreased bone density
- Decreased lifespan
- Increased fat tissue
The Good News
The good news is it doesn’t take much to turn things around if/when you fall off the fitness wagon. One recently published study shows that it only takes 15 minutes and 9 seconds of moderate intensity exercise to trigger a positive change in mental state. And most of our clients can feel a consistent physical and mental difference after working with us for only a week.
We’re Here to Help
If this article makes you want to get on – or back – on the fitness wagon once and for all, we’re here to help you do it. At Nielsen Fitness, we can show you the ropes and help you get on track – for good. Whether you’ve been searching for an in-home personal trainer near you or you prefer virtual personal training, our team can help. Contact us today!