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What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Exercising?

By Ronayne Herbert, RNP


It’s the end of another long day. You feel exhausted. Your body is drained from back-to-back workdays. You’re not sleeping well… all leaving you feeling fatigued. The thought of working out or moving another step, feels out of the question. You really are ready for some serious time off.


But as soon as you miss that first workout the doubts begin to creep in. How much time off is too much time off? While experts agree that taking a break sometimes is important in maintaining good physical health, it’s also important to note that the benefits of exercise are fleeting and are likely to disappear quickly once you stop exercising.


According to sports experts this is what happens:

Within 10 days: Your brain has a decrease in blood flow to the hippocampus.


Within 2 weeks. Your oxygen use can drop by about 10% which leads to a drop in endurance, which can continue to decrease over the ensuing months. Your blood pressure and blood glucose levels may rise once you stop exercising which could lead to a risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.


Within 4 weeks. Strength starts decreasing and continues until the gains made will be lost


Within 8 weeks. You may notice some physical changes either in weight gain, body fat or waist circumference.


As you can see, falling off the workout wagon can do more than just make you paunchy. These changes have been shown in multiple studies of elite athletes as well as non-athletes who have a regular exercise habit.


The Bottom Line. It is essential to the health and well being of our bodies and minds to develop and maintain a varied and regular exercise routine. The benefits of sticking with your workout plan can not only improve our outward appearance, but it can sharpen our mind and everyday thinking. Plus, it can improve our endurance, strength and metabolism in the long run. So don’t even think about skipping that workout or opportunity to move. It may give you just what you need to feel more energetic and sleep better too.