It is important to always keep up with the exercise that we do daily because taking a break from it for too long can have consequences. Our bodies need to move around and exercise whether it is a program that you are apart of or just a simple walk in the morning. It is certainly okay to have a day of rest or modify the exercise based on how you are feeling that particular day. However, stopping the exercise that your body is used to for more than two weeks can start to show changes in the muscles endurance that are being used. This is a term known as detraining and along with muscle atrophy can also show decreases in the 6 essential qualities of life and sport: balance, coordination, flexibility, endurance, speed and strength.
Sometimes it is difficult to keep up with the exercise programs that we are in because we become busy, but even just getting out and moving makes a huge difference. There will still be a loss in the muscular endurance if the exercise intensity is decreased, but it will be substantially less endurance lost than just sitting around all day. Studies have shown that if the exercise intensity is decreased by 2/3 of the original training load then there will be losses in endurance. Even if a few weeks go by and you start to see your endurance being lost don't get discouraged but rather get back into whatever exercise you were doing before. The endurance that you worked so hard for will come back quickly so it’s always better to not hesitate and get right back to it.
This graph below shows a one repetition maximum in kilograms taken before 20 weeks of training and one taken after 20 weeks of training. It then shows a 6 week period of no training after which another measurement was taken and finally after another 6 weeks of training another value was taken. This graph shows how even after losing the strength in the muscle after 6 weeks of not training it only took another few weeks to not only get back what was lost but improve on it. These measurements were taken by RS Staron in 1991 when he was doing a case study on the detraining and retraining of women.
So the point to take home here is to never give up on exercise even if a long break has been taken from it, there is always time to improve and create a healthy lifestyle.
Blog Post by Summer 2016 Intern Matt Leduc.