Today Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwickPymble and Balmain, and Neutral Bay discuss the importance of continuing to train over the Christmas break to maintain your fitness and decrease risk of injury.

We all know how easy it is to stray from our regular routine during the Christmas break. Social events increase, more time is spent with family and friends and the want to take a “rest” over this time is common. But is this really the right thing to do… particularly in the case of exercise?

Definitely not! Stay as active as you can … All your hard work during the year can be lost or partially reversed in a matter of days and weeks of ceasing training.

Cardiovascular fitness

For an individual that is not yet fit, physiological adaptations such as:

  • Increased capillaries in lungs and muscles
  • More blood volume and blood cells
  • Stronger heart
  • Greater mitochondrial levels in muscles to address increased energy demands

Are not yet set in stone- meaning that once training stops it is very easy to return back to 0 again. It is slightly different for someone who is fit.

Your body will stop making extra blood cells and in a week your levels will return back to normal. Additionally, your mitochondrial levels will drop to 50% after a week of no training, leading to a large plummet in cardiovascular fitness and decrease in your ability to complete this type of training once you return from a break.

Muscular strength

Your body has two types of muscle fibres, Type I (used for endurance exercise such as a long distance run) and type II (used for shorter, more intense exercise). It can take years for muscular adaptation to occur but usually takes around 6-8 weeks of training to really see a hypertrophic change (increase in mass of muscle) on an untrained person.

As soon as training has ceased and your body has recovered from your last session, the body will stop building the muscle. The longer you go without strength training, the more of your muscle you will lose.

Some athletes have found to have lost around 6% of their muscle mass after three weeks of no training.

The risk of injury is also at an all time high as a result of stopping training. It is common for people to return straight back to their old exercise routines after weeks off training without altering intensity or load or seeking guidance from an Exercise Physiologist. As mentioned previously, your fitness and strength would have declined over this time and exercises that you have done previously may produce more stress on the body. Injuries occur when you do more exercise (intensity or load) that your body is capable of. Common injuries related to overloading include tendinopathies and strains.

So if you’re tossing up whether to take a restful break over Christmas and New Year just remember the physiological effects it may have on your body. Any exercise is good exercise so keep moving and staying active to maintain your strength and fitness!

If you need someone to help you adjust your exercise program after returning back to exercise from an extended break, contact Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology on 1300 964 002.

Written by Shannon Coolican 

References

Kravitz, L. (1996). Resistance training: Adaptations and health implications. Idea Today14, 38-49.

Kraemer, W. J., Patton, J. F., Gordon, S. E., Harman, E. A., Deschenes, M. R., Reynolds, K. A. T. Y., … & Dziados, J. E. (1995). Compatibility of high-intensity strength and endurance training on hormonal and skeletal muscle adaptations. Journal of applied physiology78(3), 976-989.

If You Stopped Exercising Today, Here’s How Long It Would Take Your Body To Notice. (2016, December 1). Forbes. Retrieved December 3, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/12/01/if-you-stopped-exercising-today-heres-how-long-it-would-take-your-body-to-notice/?sh=2b7ba9df14d3