What happens to our body when we stop exercising?
The proof that sportsmen and women live a better life than couch potatoes is evident to everyone. It’s not aesthetics we are talking about here, which as some wise philosopher taught us is ephemeral, but also and above all our health. Our organism needs to move and not remain intoxicated in the grip of sedentariness, junk food and stress.
It is sometimes less clear, however, what happens to our body when we suddenly stop exercising. Obviously, we are not talking about short breaks (which are often healthy for our body). Neither are we talking about “forced” breaks due to injuries or seasonal influences. Indeed, should we suffer from an injury or an illness, it is rather recommended to return to physical activity only after a full recovery, so as not to interfere with recovery and not to drag problematic situations.
What we are interested in talking about is the situation of sportsmen in hibernation. People who have lived an athletic Renaissance with enthusiasm and then, due to laziness, commitments or other factors, had to stop training, postponing the return to the gym to an unknown date.
Physical activity is like a romantic relationship: exciting at first, but then, over time, needs stimulation and attention to avoid the cracks that often signal the beginning of the end. Let’s face it, even the most tireless among us have gone through moments of crisis with sports. We stop exercising sometimes out of boredom, sometimes because results never showed up, other times because daily commitments always had priority. It happens then to move physical activity to second place; to question that there is nothing wrong to stop exercising for few days.
On the contrary, they are often mandatory to recharge energy and return more determined than before. However, when you start to procrastinate the return day after day, week after week, the situation can become more complex. In fact, the more time passes, the more difficult will be to start again.
Doesn’t the feeling of your first sports session after a long break tell you something? Those sessions in which even the easiest exercises make our heart racing and the tamest Boost warmup makes us fatigued? If that is the case, we are starting to see what happens when we stop exercising, especially if we had just started to enjoy the many benefits of constant physical activity.
Why is the recovery so difficult? Furthermore, what are the effects on our body when we stop exercising?
1. Metabolism slow-down
When we stop exercising, we are no longer able to burn what we eat with the same ease as before. This causes a metabolic slowdown, which in turn results in fat increasing in the most visible areas of our body.
To make an example, slow metabolism is like being in a subway where people keep entering in disproportionate numbers compared to those who leave. The result is a fast saturation that weighs down the wagon and makes it harder to move.
2. Increased pressure and blood sugar levels
During the training phase, (and afterward) our muscles require more nourishment. For this reason, large quantities of sugar are transported and stored by the muscles to be used as real fuel. If we stop exercising, we force the body to produce more insulin. This is because muscle glucose deposits are no longer used as before.
A rise in blood pressure is also one of the effects we incur when we stop exercising. Sportsmen, in fact, are known to have greater vascular elasticity than those who do not practice sports (and therefore lower than average blood pressure). Breaking our athletic routine puts us in front of these new situations that pose risks to our health.
3. Increased stress and decreased happiness
How many of us practice sports not only for the body, but also to relieve the stress of a long day of work or study? What could be more comforting than to let off steam on your barbell during a Mighty class on the day when we failed an exam? Likewise, how many times did we not lose our temper to our colleagues just because we had the beneficial intuition to let off steam on a med ball? Sport makes us feel good: it relieves tension and makes us more capable of managing emotions and fighting negativity.
Of course, there’s a scientific explanation behind this. As we work out, our body produces serotonin, also known as the hormone of happiness. Not only that. When we stop exercising, our body prevents us from disposing of and managing another substance that it produces in large quantities, especially when it is under pressure: adrenaline.
When we stop exercising, this hormone remains in our body, which struggles to metabolize it. In turn, this leads to anxiety and stress. It’s like taking your dog for a walk and leaving him free to run and let off steam in the park. It will certainly be happier than the purse dog your mundane friend always carries in her bag.
4. Increased body aging
Working out or doing some physical activity prepares us to face the days with more determination and energy. It’s not just a psychological factor. Rather, it’s an objective one. The discouragement, but also the short breath we have when we climb the same floors of stairs that we had no problem with before, demonstrate this.
Not to mention the notorious pains, such as the backaches we have whenever we are sitting on the office chair, in the car or on the couch.
This involution from Homo Habilis to Homo semi Erectus is proof that another effect of a sudden stop of exercising is the aging of our body. Indeed, good muscle tone supports the joints, improves posture and predisposes the body to react well to small daily efforts.
5. Decreased strength
Finally, when we are undecided whether to resume sports activity, let us never forget the inhuman efforts we made on the training floor, the sweat we poured on the Skillmill, how much sacrifice it cost us! Does it make sense to nullify all this, knowing that the longer we stop exercising, the more painful the recovery, due to a progressive decrease in strength and endurance, will be?
So whether the excuse is work, study, family or the little time available… do not wait any longer! There are so many workouts, starting from Skillathletic’s Boost, which can optimize time and results! Let’s leave the temporary break to lovers in crisis and never forget that the relationship with our body lasts a lifetime: we might as well take care of it constantly, right?
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