Here’s What Happens to Your Body When You Take a Break from Working Out
Let’s get real: This time of year, you’re bound to miss a workout or two. Or, okay, maybe 31 in a row. Between the dreary days, back-to-back holiday parties, and stomachs so stuffed it’s best that no one moves too quickly, the motivation to squeeze in exercise has a tendency to just fall flat. But c’mon, how much of a difference can a few missed workouts really make? More than you think.
A Few Days After You Stop Working Out-
Your body takes advantage of the opportunity to recover and repair your muscles.
1 Week After You Stop Working Out-
Your muscle fibers start to dwindle.
Your body begins retaining extra fluids.
2 Weeks After You Stop Working Out-
Your cardio endurance starts to suffer.
1 Month After You Start Working Out-
You have less lean muscle mass and more body fat.
You're likely more stressed and might have trouble sleeping.
A Few Months After You Stop Working Out-
Your metabolism slows down.
You start feeling fatigued more often.
Your heart and lung function decreases.
A Year After You Stop Working Out-
Your body-fat percentage increases.
Your muscle mass and metabolism decrease even further.
You're also at a greater risk of serious issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, insomnia and depression.
Here are more details on what happens at each stage:
When You Haven’t Worked Out in a Few Days…
It’s no biggie. If you’ve been working out on the regular, your body probably welcomes the chance for recovery. It’ll use the time to repair your muscles and help you spring back stronger. That said, if your days off are paired with unhealthy food and booze, you might feel a bit bloated.
When You Haven’t Worked Out in a Week…
You’re likely feeling a little “softer” than usual. That’s due to your muscle fibers starting to dwindle and your body retaining some extra fluids. But for the most part, you’re not feeling too bad. If you head back to the gym now, you probably won’t even notice any significant changes in how fast you can run or how much you can lift.
When You Haven’t Worked Out in a Couple of Weeks…
Your fitness is definitely on the downhill slide now. As the number of mitochondria, the microscopic power plants that fuel your muscles cells, decreases, your cardio endurance will be the first thing to go. Taking the stairs might make your legs burn or even leave you sucking wind.
When You Haven’t Worked Out in a Month…
Most of your cardio and strength gains from the past few months have gone kaput. You’re sporting less lean muscle mass and more body fat. Plus, stress has a greater hold on you, and without exercise supporting your circadian rhythms, getting a good night’s sleep may be a challenge.
When You Haven’t Worked Out in a Few Months…
Your metabolism joins the ranks of things to go. So besides burning fewer calories, you probably feel fatigued pretty often—and quickly. Your heart has to work harder with every beat and your lungs don’t absorb as much oxygen as they used to.
You Haven’t Worked Out in a Year…
Aside from a soaring body-fat percentage, complete loss of muscle, and sluggish metabolism, you’re also at a greater risk of serious health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, insomnia, and depression.
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