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What Happens When You Stop Exercising

There are many reasons why we stop exercising, whether for a while or for good. We take a rest day, we get sick, we become too old, or we just get bored of exercising. No matter what the reason is, there will be changes in your body if you take time away from exercising. And the longer you go without exercise, the more obvious the effects will be. So, what are those changes? Let’s find out together.

You will likely gain fat and lose muscle mass

Although it will take a while—about 8 to 12 weeks without exercise—you will start seeing physical changes in your body. For one, you’ll start naturally losing muscle mass. As a result, your metabolism slows down, limiting the body’s potential to burn fat. In addition to that, because your physical activities are now cut from your routine, you won’t be able to burn as many calories as you would have.

Your strength might also be affected

Studies have found that strength can be maintained only up to four weeks without exercise. Any longer and you’ll start to slowly lose your muscle strength and power. Strength is at least the slowest to diminish over time though so there’s a bit of a silver lining still. Those who we can say are “genetically blessed” can even go for 3 months without exercising and still keep their strength in good condition.

Endurance will be the most affected

Just after 2 weeks of no exercise, you’ll start to notice your endurance drop. Walking up the stairs to the third floor wasn’t a problem before but now you find yourself breathing a bit harder than usual. This all has something to do with our VO2 max. To put it simply, VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen our body can effectively use. Multiple studies have shown that our VO2 max will drop even more up to 20% after just a month without exercise.

Is it really that bad?

If you consider the points mentioned above, it’s only bad if you take too long before getting exercise again. It doesn’t really mean that simply not exercising anymore will cause you to get sick more often. But you will lose all the benefits you get from actually exercising. If you do decide to exercise again, your body will easily adapt to the physical stress. This is because of “muscle memory” which points that it’s easier to regain lost muscle tissues than to actually build new ones. 

How to minimize these effects

Of course, there are also many ways to minimize the negative effects of taking a break from exercise. One is to just do lighter exercises compared to your usual. If you usually lift weights at the gym but decide to stop for a while, you can just do bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and etc. If you also want to avoid gaining fat, make sure to watch your diet and continue eating healthy.

Gym Etiquette: 5 Hygiene Habits to Live By

Although fitness centres keep you healthy and fit by helping you shed off extra pounds, it’s also a place full of germs and bacteria that could make you sick. So, prevent acquiring infections, skin problems, and contagious diseases by practising these five gym hygiene habits.

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  1. Keep Your Hands Off Your Face. Imagine the number of grimy and bacteria-laden hands that have held each dumbbell and other fitness equipment in the gym. Gross, right? This is why it’s important to avoid touching your face during the entire duration of your workout. Once you’re done, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or some hand sanitizer to get rid of the bacteria.

 

  1. Wipe Fitness Equipment Before and After Use. As you head to the gym, ensure that you bring packs of wipes and a separate hand towel to clean the equipment you’ll be using. If you want, you can also add a few drops of sanitizer as you wipe. Be responsible and don’t be like other people who leave a puddle of sweat on workout mats and benches.

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  1. Bring Your Own Fitness Materials. If you’re prone to getting sick, then your best option would be to bring your own fitness equipment such as exercise mats and bath towels. While water dispensers are okay, experts recommend staying away from water fountains. Just imagine all the careless mouths that have touched the water valve, as well as the bacteria breeding around that valve. To be safer, bring your own water bottle to the gym.

 

  1. Shower After Exercising. While it may be tempting to immediately crash on your couch after a tiring day at the gym, experts strongly suggest taking a quick shower first. Doing so won’t just get rid of the dirt and sweat you’ve accumulated during your workout, it also washes away bacteria that may lead to acne breakout. If you don’t feel like using the gym shower, the least you could do is to wash your hands and face, and wipe with clean, damp cloth your neck, chest, arms, and back.

 

  1. Keep Your Fitness Gears Clean. Another good way to keep yourself germ-free while working out is by ensuring that all your fitness gear is clean. Immediately remove your damp towels and sweaty gym clothes from your bag once you get home. Don’t keep your shoes in the plastic bag and have them aired out to dry them from sweat residue.

Practising good hygiene habits at the gym—and after hitting the gym—is a good way to ensure you stay healthy and fit. So, start shedding off those unsightly flabs and extra pounds while staying healthy and away from disease-causing germs and bacteria.

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