It is probably safe to say we have all heard about how taking breaks and rests from workouts is a good thing for your body–and equally important as putting it through the physical exercises themselves. However, how long is long enough without being too long? I would have guessed anywhere after about three weeks is when you probably have crossed a point in which your body isn’t just resting and restoring itself but probably hovering towards getting used to being a bit more sedimentary and not physically active daily. Maybe some of you think this happens a lot sooner, maybe in one week or two. Well, if you guessed two weeks then you are right. After two weeks of not doing the physical activities your body is used to doing will it start to change muscularly and its metabolic rate.
Here is more from the article ‘This Is What Happens To Your Body After Two Weeks Not Training’ published at Sporteluxe.
“A new study from the University of Liverpool has the answer. According to researchers, just two weeks without regular physical activity can lead to “muscular and metabolic changes” which could increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease, as well as weight gain. Surprised? Same.
To learn how healthy, young adults are impacted by a 14-day vacation from the treadmill, researchers monitored a group of 28 men and women who were 25 years old and walked around 10,000 steps a day. Their starting fitness levels, fat, muscle mass and mitochondrial function—a measurement that indicates how well someone regulates their energy and recovers after exercise—were all recorded at the beginning.
Next, the group cut back their exercise routine by 80 percent to 1,500 steps each day, meaning they spent an extra 129 additional minutes per day in a sedentary state (making good use of their Netflix subscription, we guess). They also kept their diet consistent.
After two weeks researchers recorded their new measurements like weight and muscle mass and compared this data with each participant’s original results. The participants not only gained weight and lost muscle mass, but their total body fat increased—specifically around the stomach area. Their fitness levels suffered too: After just two weeks of reduced exercises the participants couldn’t run as long or at the same intensity as they could before their two-week sweat break. The results get even scarier—insulin sensitivity decreased and fat accumulation in the liver increased. Yikes.
While it’s obvious that a sedentary lifestyle is going to eventually lead to weight gain, even the researchers were shocked by how quickly these changes set in. “We thought that we would see some subtle changes,” says co-author Dan Cuthbertson, Ph.D., reader and consultant for the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease. “But when everything you measure gets worse in such a short time period, including these important risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, it is actually quite surprising.”
Perhaps the only silver lining here is that participants did seem to bounce back super fast. When they returned to their normal lifestyles, they returned to their original weight, muscle mass, and fat levels in just two weeks. “The effects were entirely reversible,” Cuthbertson says. “So it’s fine if you’re fit and well and you go on holiday for two weeks and then you get right back to normal.”
So basically, there’s no reason you can’t take put your gym membership on hold for a couple of weeks to lie in the sun in Tulum, or backpack around Peru—as long as you get straight back into it when you land home.