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What Will Happen To Your Body When You Stop Exercising

What Will Happen To Your Body When You Stop Exercising

Engaging in regular exercise improves your overall health, mobility and stamina. It leads to much better consumption of vitamins, minerals, other nutrient substances as well as oxygen in your body. However, in spite of your best efforts, you will eventually miss a workout. And from that point it gets easier and easier to not exercise. Soon you’re not working out at all. If consistent exercise is so beneficial for your health, what happens when you skip a few sessions, take a protracted workout cessation, or when you just stop exercising?

Shortly after you begin detraining (discontinuing your normal exercise sequence), noticeable changes begin to occur in your body based upon your level of fitness. The lack of exercise influences how you look, feel and represent yourself. It hastens the aging process. Your cardiovascular health, muscular structure, brain function, emotions and concentration can be impacted. You develop an elevated risk for chronic illness.

Dr. Harry Pino, Personal Trainer and Rehabilitation Specialist, Exercise Physiologist, Consultant and experienced marathoner, is quoted heavily by many on the subject of detraining. Most of the references come from an August 2015 post by George Dvorsky, io9 blog. In this article, Dr. Pino states that “It’s shocking to see what happens to the body. We start to see lots of changes to muscle, strength, and fat levels—it really deteriorates your structural well-being[…] The fitter you are, the harder you fall.” The better conditioned you are, the faster you lose your well-earned fitness position.

Fitness levels for athletic people decline at varying rates based upon whether strength or cardiovascular losses are at risk. According to Andreas Bergdahl, Assistant Professor, Cardiovascular Physiology at Montreal’s Concordia University, “…what applies to an elite athlete after one week, might take a sedentary individual one or two months to experience.” The precise extent you will lose your fitness depends upon how long you are in the detraining phase and where you are on the fitness bar.

The good part is that no matter the cause for your falling off of the workout wagon – laziness, exhaustion, illness, conflict in schedules, injury, etc. – these conditions can most likely be reversed if you resume your exercise routines and healthy living. And as a reminder of your need to choose daily activity, here follows a detailed summary of what research finds will happen to your body when you stop exercising.

Loss of Cardio Conditioning

Cardio conditioning, or Cardio for short, is a type of exercise for heightened cardiovascular health. When you stop exercising for a few weeks you fail to strengthen your heart and lungs which casts you into a serious sedentary lifestyle. This time of ease causes your cardio to weaken and your body to store additional fat. Have you noticed challenges when you run up the steps, chase the cat or walk a short block? Cardio conditioning falls quicker than your muscle strength; however, it’s a lot easier to regain.

A four week study of nine well-trained endurance athletes on the Effects of detraining on endurance capacity and metabolic changes during prolonged exhaustive exercise concluded that four weeks of inactivity resulted in a 21% decrease of their VO2 max – their maximum capacity to take in, transport, and use oxygen during exercise. It, also, determined that endurance capacity fluctuates substantially during detraining without changes in the VO2 max. Muscle values increased significantly at exhaustion in the detrained state. The elevated muscle at exhaustion could contribute to fatigue in prolonged exercise.

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In a study of Time course of loss of adaptations after stopping prolonged intense endurance training, the VO2 max declined 7% during the first 21 days of inactivity and stabilized after 56 days at a level 16% below the initial trained value. After 84 days of detraining the experimental subjects still had a higher VO2 max than did eight sedentary control subjects who had never trained. Enzymes in the blood associated with endurance performance decreased by 50 percent. Curtly terminating your regular exercise routine harms your blood flow and your heart.

In cardio conditioning, your heart muscle is made stronger. You have a lower resting heart rate, and a healthier lung function. These benefits enable you to work harder for longer periods of time, with increased vigor and durability. Also, you may notice less stress and better temperaments.  You forfeit these advantages when you stop exercising.

Higher Blood Pressure

For the majority of persons that workout, consistent exercise assists with the lowering of their blood pressure. Therefore, it’s a no brainer that when we stop exercising it raises our blood pressure. Despite the general consensus of this claim, there exists significant inconsistency relative to the matter. This is seen in a study on The Relationship between the Blood Pressure Responses to Exercise following Training and Detraining Periods.

It examined the relationship between blood pressure responses after 6 months of training, followed by 2 weeks of detraining. Test specimen consisted of sedentary, middle-aged obese men (38) and women (37) with prehypertension, mild to moderate dyslipidemia (an abnormal amount of lipids, or fats, in the blood), and normal fasting glucose. Test results revealed “considerable variability” in the blood pressure responses; negative correlations were discovered.

Some of the individuals responded and others did not respond to exercise as a means of controlling high blood pressure. Although results indicated that exercise training lowers blood pressure, while blood pressure increases and returns to pre-training values with detraining; several of the study subjects experienced contrary results. They registered increased blood pressure with exercise training; they registered decreased blood pressure after detraining. Obviously this phenomenon requires further study.

Your Blood Glucose Skyrockets

Sedentary living causes your glucose levels to rise. This increases your risk of contracting heart disease and diabetes. When you fail to exercise, your muscles and other tissues cannot absorb sugar from your blood glucose for energy. Consequently, your blood glucose climbs sharply. This can happen even after 5 days of inactivity per an article posted by Prevention.com. All of this results in a larger abdomen from a loss of fat-burning potential and a slower metabolism. Carrying extra weight around the middle is very dangerous.

After one week of exercise, blood sugar levels should start to decrease. This reversal can occur even for Type 2 diabetes per Dr. James Thyfault, University of Missouri. He warns, “If you stay sedentary, continuously creeping glucose readings can raise your risk of heart disease and diabetes.” Strokes, heart conditions and diabetes may be avoided with as little as 30 minutes of consistent exercise a day.

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Muscle Degeneration

Initially as you transform from a fit person to a sedentary person, you are still considered healthy by the exercise physiologists; but, you are labeled a deconditioned individual. So, no matter the reason, when you cease to exercise, there is a negative impact. Muscle atrophy sets in, you start having problems with your joints and ligaments. Your body starts to lose muscle tone and develop muscle atrophy, especially if you’re accustomed to regular resistance training. How quickly you lose muscle mass depends on your age. The older you are, the faster you will lose muscle.

Your quads and biceps commence to shrink rather swiftly. However, even if you are not a highly trained athlete, “within 10-28 days you will notice diminished muscle strength and a loss in power, including speed and agility, mobility, moving from side-to-side, the ability to stop on a dime, and a loss of coordination says Dr. Harry Pino.

Regular exercise can only slow, and not completely halt, muscle degeneration. Within about a week, your muscles lose some of their fat-burning potential and your metabolism slows down. As a result, your muscles won’t convert to fat after you stop exercising – that’s a myth; but, they will begin to decline. Fat will begin to build up and cover them.

Strength Loss

When you stop exercising, your strength outlasts your physical endurance. Strength loss occurs in the majority of people after about two and a half to three weeks of inactivity according to Molly Galbraith, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist; co-founder of Girls Gone Strong. This does not apply to endurance and power athletes with specialized skills. The muscular strength that they have worked so hard to amass tends to decrease at a faster rate.

A study was conducted by the Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain, entitled the Physiological Effects of Tapering and Detraining in World-Class Kayakers. Their results supported “previous research showing that short-term [Training Cessation] results in larger decreases in muscle strength and power in resistance- and endurance-trained top-level athletes compared with [a Reduced Training] approach.

Moreover, muscle power appears particularly susceptible to detraining in highly conditioned athletes, being lost at a faster rate than maximal strength. These results may suggest the need of a minimal maintenance program of [Reduced Training] to avoid excessive declines in neuromuscular function and fat-free mass in cases where a prolonged break (longer than 2–3 weeks) from training is required.”

Increased Body Weight and Fat

If you take an extended leave from exercising…and if you continue to indulge in the foods you enjoy – keeping your body well stocked with high calorie delights – your fat cells will have a feast, causing your body weight to soar. Less exercise means a lower metabolism and less fat burning. As a result, you gain weight and get fat.

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In February 2014, a study was done with fifty-five professional male soccer players who stopped exercising for six weeks. This research on the Discrepancy between Exercise Performance, Body Composition, and Sex Steroid Response after a Six-Week Detraining Period in Professional Soccer Players’ concluded with definite increases in body fat percentage and increases in body weight by these athletes.

Findings from the study further showed substantial regressions in aerobic, strength, and sprint performance variations. Therefore, off-season training programs are definitely needed by highly skilled athletes for sufficient mental and physical recovery, and to sustain their most practical body composition levels.

Mood and Brain Changes

Without exercise, you have ineffective oxygen conveyance to the brain. Your body is unable to suppress chemicals that cause depression. It cannot release the chemicals that minimize depression. Occurring within a short span of time, these changes make you tired, unable to concentrate, irritable, and gloomy. They entice low self-esteem.

In the article, Depression can damage the brain, published by ScienceNordic, Professor Poul Videbech, a specialist in Psychiatry at the Centre for Psychiatric Research at Aarhus University Hospital (Denmark), stated that “depression leaves its mark on the brain as it results in a ten percent reduction of the hippocampus. In some cases, this reduction continues when the depression itself is over.” Mood changes leading to depression can damage the brain permanently leaving an individual with difficulties remembering and concentrating.

A Finnish research team performed a study using 10 sets of identical male twins between the ages of 32 and 36. Even though they had maintained the same level of physical activity and had maintained similar diets for most of their lives, there exercise habits differed over the past 3 years. The study was small and not a formal Randomized Controlled Trial; but nevertheless, the results were astounding. Two issues brought about major changes in the test results: 1) consistent exercising and 2) the lack of consistent exercising or in one case, none at all.

The twins who exercised regularly were found to have lower body fat percentages. Their endurance levels were higher, and they had more gray brain matter (for information processing), principally in areas controlling balance and motor function. However, the twins who exercised less frequently, living more sedentary lifestyles for the previous three years, carried on the average seven more pounds of body fat, had less endurance, were nearing insulin resistance – a sign of an early metabolic condition and likely type 2 diabetes. This study is a great warning of what will happen to your body when you stop exercising, and how detrimental that proves to be after only a brief time.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Many people around the world are hooked on gambling, alcohol, drugs, and sex. And yet, others are hooked on strenuous physical exercise. When these activities cease, all of the participants undergo withdrawal symptoms. Per the Counseling & Psychological Services Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, people who exercise heavily every day, and who work out to deal with their stress, may experience withdrawals when they stop. They are likely to suffer changes in their sleep patterns, performance, energy levels, and ability to concentrate, or to feel achy and sore.

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Ph.D. student Mia Beck Lichtenstein from the University of Southern Denmark conducted their first fitness addiction study. She says, “If someone who’s addicted to physical exercise is prevented from training, that person will experience withdrawal symptoms like restlessness, frustration and guilt. It’s comparable to alcoholism, where withdrawal symptoms play an incredibly large part in the addict’s social life, family life and working life.

Conclusion

So, once you stop exercising, your VO2 Max – oxygen uptake measurement, is typically first in line to be negatively influenced. You automatically trigger a decline in your coordination, endurance, power and strength; your stamina, flexibility and energy all within a few weeks. These are very important elements of physical fitness; so the loss is severe. Along with muscle atrophy this jeopardizes your cardiovascular system.

So what’s a body to do? You get off that couch and get back on a consistent exercise routine. Just thirty minutes of daily aerobic activity strengthens your heart, improves your whole body and core mobility. If you are injured, sick or bed ridden, talk with your doctor and therapist to find out what kind of exercises you can safely perform. Failure to exercise is a life threatening choice, especially when just stop abruptly.

If exercise is to profit your health and well-being, there must be a conscious decision to begin and continue a structured exercise routine. In addition, it is essential to create and maintain balance between the amounts of exercise and the amount of time allowed for recovery from exercise sessions. Quality must always precede quantity.

Featured photo credit: From LiveScience.com via 4.bp.blogspot.com

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Published on July 13, 2018

13 Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for The Last Trimester

13 Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for The Last Trimester

Practicing yoga during pregnancy is a great way to nurture you and your baby. It can also help you cope and prepare both your mind and body for any pregnancy demands and challenges that you may face especially during the third trimester.

Yoga during pregnancy helps you to create space for both your baby and your internal organs. However, make sure that you only do what feels right and works, avoid muscle strains and extreme pressure exercises.

There are plenty of yoga techniques that can help you to prepare for labor in the 3rd trimester. Before you try out yoga, make sure you talk to your doctor. This way, you may know the do and don’t during this stage. The following are some of the common yoga exercises to try out during the third trimester.

1. Birth prep exercises

This mainly entails simple exercise designed to reduce pains and aches and can as well as help position the baby in a good pelvic alignment. Include this technique in your workout rest brakes, warm-up, and as part of your daily poses.

Here’s an example of it:

2. Cat cow

    This is a great pose for lengthening your spine and strengthen your core muscles.[1]

    This pose is a great technique for all pregnancy stages. It will help strengthen your belly as the pregnancy continues to grow.

    This asana also relieves the back and allow a better circulation of spinal fluids and blood.

    Practice belly breathing when performing this pose. It will aid in calming your mind and reducing morning sickness.

    It should be done about 5 times for best results.

    3. Warrior II

      This technique is great for strengthening your core and legs and as well as lengthen your spine. Even though this technique is a little bit challenging, it is said to help alleviate backaches during pregnancy.

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      4. Bridge pose

        This pose is convenient if you want to open up your hips and strengthen your glutes, core, and hamstrings.[2] Also, it can be practiced in all the trimesters.

        Begin on the side and roll to the back as you move your body into a bridge pose. This helps avoid stressing your rectus abdominals.

        Avoid this exercise if you feel uncomfortable on your back.

        5. Cobblers pose (Baddha Konasana)

          This technique is said to improve the health of the reproductive system.[3] During pregnancy, it aids in opening up the pelvis, therefore ensuring an easy and fast labor.

          It is also said to calm the mind and improve blood circulation. This yoga practice can be performed as follows:

          • Sit on a mat and stretch out your legs.
          • Fold your knees and bring your feet at the center.
          • Then straighten your back.
          • Using your palms hold your feet for a few seconds.
          • Release.
          • Repeat this about 4 times.

          6. Warrior I

            This technique helps you explore your upper body. It helps to open up your chest and strengthen your legs. This technique helps restore the health of your spine and help make space for the growing uterus.

            Also, it helps your mind relax and stay focused and maintain balance. It can be performed as follows;

            • Place your feet apart in a hip-width position.
            • Pivot on the left foot.
            • Make your right foot to face forward.
            • Lower the pelvis, then assume a lunge.
            • Look forward and lift your arms above your head.
            • Hold that position as long as possible.
            • Release the pose.
            • Repeat the process with the left foot forward.

            7. Corpse pose

              This technique aims at relaxing your body and mind.[4] It boosts your energy instantly and hence it’s convenient for battling any fatigue during the pregnancy.

              Also, it helps in fighting off any side effects of pregnancy such as pain, morning sickness, and nausea. This pose can be performed as follows:

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              • Lie on your back.
              • Let your palms rest beside you while facing upwards.
              • Close your eyes and then relax- your arms should be alongside your body.
              • Breathe.

              8. Spiraling movement

              This entails moving your pelvis in circular motions and moving your hips. These movements help to massage down the baby’s head onto the cervix.

              Also, these movements helps you keep your pelvis mobile and relaxed while loosening your muscles and ligaments.

              You may consider using a fitness ball to help in the movements.

              9. Child’s pose

                This is a resting pose. It helps to focus on your breath, breathe more deeply, and also it’s a good position to rest between labor contractions.[5]

                This is a great position that will help you find peace and promote a healthy and a happy pregnancy. It’s safe for all trimesters.

                Relax and move your knees apart, then rest your head on your fists, hand, or on the floor. You should avoid this position if your pubic symphysis is sore or open. Relax in this position, eyes closed.

                10. Chanting

                Making your own sounds during pregnancy and birth is a powerful way to regulate your breathing, it enables you to focus and relax as you deal with the pain that is associated with pregnancy and labor.

                Practicing voice sounds can help you open up and have an easier and more comfortable labor. You can do this as follows:

                • Sit comfortably.
                • Close your eyes.
                • Placing your index fingers on the lobes of your ears, take a deep breath.
                • Exhaling slowly, make gentle humming sounds.
                • Do this 5 to 10 times.
                • You can also do this while lying down with arms by the side of the body.

                11. Standing hip rotations

                  This moves will help strengthen your pelvis as well as relax.[6] You can do this as follows:

                  • Stand with feet wide apart but comfortable.
                  • Slightly bend your knees.
                  • Place your hands on your hips and rotate your hips.
                  • Try to keep your upper body still.
                  • Focus on rotating the hips and the belly.
                  • Inhale while moving your hips forward and exhale while moving them backward.
                  • Do this as many times as you wish.

                  12. Tree pose

                    This is a balancing technique. It helps strengthening your legs and core. It also improves posture and alleviates back pain. How to perform this pose:

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                    • Feet on the ground, shift your weight forward and backward until you gain balance.
                    • Shift your weight to one foot.
                    • You can also lift one of your foot to your ankle to gain balance.
                    • Bring the foot higher to your inner thigh.
                    • Put your hands in a prayer position.
                    • Hold this for 5 breaths.
                    • You can also raise the arms above your head.
                    • Repeat with the other leg.

                    This technique is safe for all stages during pregnancy.

                    13. Meditation

                    Over the years, meditation has been used to manage a lot of conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety, and much more.

                    During the last trimester of your pregnancy, meditation can help to move gracefully as you approach labor. It will help you ascertain a more peaceful state of mind by avoiding stress and anxiety especially if you are giving birth for the first time.

                    Develop the habit of practicing meditation on a daily basis.

                    Guidelines for pregnancy yoga

                    There are some poses, however, that you should avoid while pregnant. They include plank cross, locust pose, boat pose, plow pose, and much more. Consult with your doctor on the best exercises.

                    Here’re some guidelines you need to know before practicing yoga:

                    1. Do what feels right.

                    Starting yoga especially in your last trimester can be challenging while it’s really important in preparing both your mind and body for labor and pregnancy-related demands.

                    To avoid accidents or extreme positions, you should practice yoga poses with the guidance of a trained tutor.

                    When choosing which yoga poses to perform, listen to your body and do what you feel comfortable doing. Since all women do not have the same challenges and experience during pregnancy, avoid doing poses that your friends are doing if they don’t feel right to you.

                    2. Do fewer poses.

                    In case you are into physical exercises, it’s important to soften your training to avoid harming both your body and the health of the baby. Also, avoid long hours of training. You can talk to your doctor to guide you on the most convenient techniques to practice.

                    During pregnancy, your body tends to have higher temperatures and it may feel hotter than usual. It’s recommended to avoid practicing yoga in a heated environment. Perform these techniques in a suitable environment with fresh and adequate ventilation.

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                    3. Don’t get distracted.

                    Reduce distraction while practicing yoga. For instance, a telephone can interfere with proper meditation.

                    4. Stay comfortable.

                    Wear loose and comfortable clothing.

                    5. Do not eat before yoga.

                    Practice yoga on empty stomach. Most techniques are effective in the morning.

                    6. Always warm up for a few minutes.

                    You can walk around, loosen your joints, move your limbs and warm up your muscles.

                    7. Stay hydrated.

                    Make sure that you are well hydrated especially when practicing challenging and sweaty poses. Dehydration, especially during the last trimester of your pregnancy can have severe sequences such as false early labor or preterm labor.

                    Yoga techniques are the best kinds of workouts to try out during pregnancy. Especially if practiced together with mild exercises such as walking, it can help the expectant mother deal with both emotional and physical changes with ease.

                    Also, it will help mothers feel relaxed and stay in shape during the last trimester of pregnancy.

                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                    Reference

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