What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Working Out?

Maintaining a regular fitness schedule is not a simple task. There comes a time when you just feel bored, time becomes limited, or you give up because you aren’t patient enough to see the scale tip in your favor. While taking a break from a workout is normal, a break too long will have negative impacts on your health and body. Quitting gym will not give you a pot belly overnight, but eventually, you will start gaining weight and your muscles will become flabby. The rate of your fitness decline will depend on various aspects such as your lifestyle, your level of fitness before quitting the gym, and how long you’ve been working out. Today, we take a look at what happens to your body when you stop working out.

Effect on Your Weight

Your metabolism starts to slow down after a week of not hitting the gym. The more you continue to pump high-calorie delights, the more your fat cells become happy. Because your fat burning capabilities are on the decline, fat deposits become more pronounced and you start to gain weight.

One study was conducted on 55 professional athletes who stopped working out for about six weeks. The research, which tried to find the discrepancy between body composition and exercise performance, concluded that lack of training for a long period increases body fat and weight.

Effect on Your Muscle

After a certain duration, you will start having trouble with your muscles, especially in the joints and ligaments. When you quit the weights, your muscles will shrink and you’ll lose muscle tone These changes may become visible within two weeks. So what causes muscle degeneration when you stop your fitness regimen? Your muscle fibers will realize that they don’t need to store energy anymore since you’re not using it. Therefore, they store less glycogen which leads to muscle atrophy, or the shrinking of your muscle fibers.

Effect on Your Brain

Apart from increasing the supply of oxygen to your brain, exercise triggers the release of neurotransmitters including, serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, GABA, and glutamate. These chemicals increase your brain activities, and this explains why you feel good after a walk or a workout. After a period of inactivity, your brain will be negatively affected and you’ll start feeling tired more quickly, your endurance levels will plummet, and you may notice that you’ve become irritable.

Effect on Your Strength and Bones

The more we age, the more we need to work on our muscle groups to maintain our physical and mental fitness. When you quit the gym, various muscles will start to weaken with time and you’ll find it harder to lift weights. The bones become brittle and you even risk developing osteoporosis. Fitness is a lifetime obligation. However, it’s advisable to take a short break from regular exercise, especially if you engage in high-intensity workouts. On the other hand, to maintain your weight, cognitive function and prevent fat build-up, you need to exercise consistently. If you can, participate in short HIIT workouts instead of skipping exercising altogether.

Effect on Your Blood Glucose

When you exercise, your muscles and other tissues absorb sugar from your blood glucose for energy. As you may know, after you eat, your blood glucose rises, then drops as you engage in physical activity. However, being sedentary causes blood glucose levels to skyrocket. One study shows that blood sugar levels start to drop two weeks after a continuous workout. Another study has shown that staying inactive for as little as three days elevates your blood sugar levels. The downside of having raised blood glucose levels includes diabetes and heart diseases. The good news is that even a small amount of light workouts such as walking can help prevent various preventable health conditions.

Effect on Your Sleep

Due to the stress you put your muscles after a series of workouts, your body needs rest and the exercises help to promote good sleep. When you’re in deep REM cycles of sleep, the body produces certain hormones such as testosterone, that help to repair damaged muscle tissue. When you fail to exercise, your body stores plenty of energy levels that don’t have a way out. This is likely to interfere with your sleep and may lead to restlessness.

How to Overcome the Effects of Quitting Gym

As you can tell from the facts above, quitting gym is not a great idea both on your physical and mental health. If you have a valid reason to stop fitness training such as an injury or a medical condition, you can still do some exercises at home like pushups, sit-ups, walking, swimming, running, or riding. Additionally, it’s important to stretch regularly to help your muscle groups keep fit. Another aspect to watch out for is what you eat. Don’t exceed your calorie intake to prevent fat build-up and weight gain. A sedentary lifestyle is the source of many health conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and type-2 diabetes. Remember, you can quit the gym and still maintain a healthy lifestyle.

All images by Pixabay

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