Let’s face it, almost everybody has a hard time starting a regular exercise routine—let alone sticking to it for a long time. Although some people become gym junkies, or frequently running marathons, many still end up forgoing exercise at some point in their lives—whether they experience some changes, or they just became lazy, like almost everyone.
‘Detraining’ is a common condition experienced by athletes when their regular workout routines stop for a period of time. Although it is more frequently experienced by athletes, normal people experience it too. Putting an end to your regular workout routine has some distinct disadvantages and can increase the risk of chronic diseases.
Suddenly putting a halt in your active lifestyle and slowly becoming sedentary can cause several changes in your body, which can be the opposite of the goals why you started working out in the first place.
Reductions in Strength & Muscle
When you stop working out for an extended period of time, your body starts to lose strength and muscle mass, especially if you’re accustomed to regular resistance training. According to a research published in 2010 which studied highly-trained athletes who stopped exercising for five weeks. All of the subjects showed significant decreases in strength. In a matter of six weeks, the muscles can already lose mass and strength.
Body Weight & Fat Gains
When you’re used to regular exercise and you suddenly stop working out, you’ll likely start to notice increases in body fat, as well as an increased risk for weight gain. The same study found that these athletes had their respective weights ballooned after a period of five weeks.
Another study published in 2014 found that soccer players who de-trained for six weeks had increases in body fat and body weight. However, ceasing workouts isn’t a guarantee you’ll gain weight. If you control — or reduce — your calorie intake you can prevent weight gain or even lose weight, because muscle weighs more than body fat.
Higher Blood Pressure
Who knew ceasing regular exercise can increase one’s blood pressure? Exercise helps in lowering blood pressure and keeping your heart healthy while doing its job to pump blood.
A study found that blood pressure increases to pre-training levels after a just two weeks of exercise cessation. However, just because you discontinue workouts doesn’t mean you’re certain to have high blood pressure. In addition to getting regular exercise, other ways to lower or control blood pressure include reducing dietary sodium, achieve or maintain a healthy body weight, manage stress, avoid tobacco products and limit alcohol consumption, according to the American Heart Association.
Fortunately, whether you cease workouts due to an injury, illness, scheduling conflict or change in motivation, you can always get back on track.