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How Long Can You Go Without Exercise Before You Lose Muscle?

Pratiquante_de_haltérophilie_(CrossFit)

Even if you have the best of intentions when it comes to your fitness program, life can sometimes get in the way. Events come up suddenly and people get ill. You skip one day, then two, and before you know it you realize it has been weeks or even months since you got in your last good workout.

Uh oh. Have you undone all of the hard work that you put in to get yourself in prime physical condition? The answer is: It depends.

When you’re talking about fitness losses, it depends on your definition. For instance, if you’re wondering how long it will take to lose the muscle strength you’ve been able to build, studies show that you won’t feel the effects until after four weeks of not training. However, if you’re referencing power or endurance, give it just a week and you’ll notice the difference.

Your cardiovascular fitness declines at a fairly rapid rate as well. Some research suggests that you’ll notice increased resting heart rates and decreased oxygen consumption after a mere twenty days of complete inactivity, but some say it doesn’t even take that long. Speed and agility don’t seem to be effected as dramatically, though, so that is good news.

The great thing is that you can easily get back to your pre-break levels in relatively small lengths of time. In fact, after just two weeks of retraining, it will seem almost as if you never had the lull as your body will be bounce back where it was quite quickly.

Of course, the best fitness program is one that is constant and consistent. But, if you find that life gets in the way and prevents you from keeping up with your regular schedule, not to worry because you can still achieve fitness. The key is to jump back in as soon as you can.


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