Breaking Good


How can you stay fit when you are on a workout downtime?

Everyone has skipped a workout at some point or the other. It might be when you are on vacation, when work becomes too demanding or when you are stuck on the couch nursing an injury or a cold. Taking a break from the gym for a day or two can help your body heal. However, that 3-day break can easily snowball into six…  and then into 14! How long does it take to lose your level of fitness and what can you do to stay as fit as possible while on a break?

The Regular Exerciser:

The good news is that as a regular exerciser (you exercise five or six times a week), you will bounce back pretty quickly. If you have been working out regularly for a year, your muscle memory is strong. For most regular exercisers, strength loss occurs after about two and a half to three weeks of inactivity. But if your break was due to illness, you might lose your strength even faster. Unfortunately, cardio strength is lost much faster but it is also easier to regain. You cardio strength can decrease by 20 percent in four weeks. So hurry and get back onto that wagon!

The Newbie Exerciser:

It is easy to lose the progress (especially cardio strength) you have made with your new fitness routine. So don’t take generous breaks from your workout. Surprisingly, studies have found that a new exerciser can retain up to 50 percent of the strength gained over a 4-month strength training program after a six-month break. However, cardio strength gained can be completely lost after 4 weeks of inactivity.

How To Maintain Your Fitness While On A Break:

Light Cardio: Take brisk walks or go swimming or do any other activity that gets your heart racing.

Resistance Train: If you are taking a break because of a localized injury, you can still do some resistance training such as swimming or bodyweight exercises. Even a four-minute Tabata routine can help you maintain your gained fitness.

Eat Right: Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help keep off the weight even while you are on a break and help injuries and illnesses heal faster.

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