Taking Time Off from Working Out: How Long Is Too Long?
Taking Time Off from Working Out and Not Worrying About Losing Fitness
You can’t be wish washy with your fitness goals. If you want to lose weight or improve your your health you have to be consistent. You will not see results if you skip too many days a week or weeks.
As important as it is to be regular with your exercise, however, it’s also essential that you take a break sometimes.
You may need a break because you are exhausted, you injured yourself or because you just don’t have the time to work out, or simply because you’re bored with with your work out. Besides, life happens and you have to take a break weather you like it or not?
You could also need a break because you need to go on vacation, or sick. What many people don’t realize, however, is that they also need to take a break when they have been overtraining. Pushing yourself too hard with high-intensity exercise can cause you to develop depression, exhaustion and lose performance in your workouts.
Taking a break may be the solution to a variety of problems. There’s probably just one thing that concerns you — how long will it be before you start getting out of shape?
You don’t have to worry about taking a break
Many people are surprised to learn that taking as long as a week off from working out doesn’t usually ruin the gains that they’ve made. It’s a fact that many serious athletes routinely take a week off once every three months or so.
Consider what marathon runners do. They usually plan their training in such a way that they hit their training peak two weeks before an event. At that point, they begin tapering off their workouts, and exercising less and less each day until the day of the event. This way, they can be sure that they are well-rested and full of energy for the race.
It’s important to understand that it takes far more than a week to undo the physical fitness that you have worked so hard for. But not that far. If you are tired and sore, you shouldn’t worry about taking time off.
How long does it take to lose your edge?
Whether you need to take a break because you have other commitments, or simply need to rest, how long will it be before your body begins to go downhill? Here are some basic numbers to work with:
•You lose about ten percent of your aerobic fitness after three weeks of inactivity.
•You come close to losing most of your fitness after eight weeks of inactivity.
•If you’re highly fit, you will experience a faster drop-off in fitness level than someone who is less fit.
•Your muscular strength stays with you far longer than your aerobic fitness.
These numbers are only rough guides to go by. The number of days of rest that you should take depends on what your body communicates to you. You need to look for signs that you’re overtraining or are just tired.
When you’re on your break, you can still be active, but in different ways. If you’ve always run to train, you can try playing a game of tennis on your break, or go swimming instead.
You need to be aware that and if you plan to take a week off, you can be sore once you restart your workouts. How your body responds depends on how long you’ve rested, on how hard you work out, and on your genetics.
How do you know that you are ready for a break?
When your body and mind need a break, you can usually tell by looking for a few signs.
•You always feel exhausted.
•Your muscles are constantly sore.
•You’ve begun dreading going to the gym each day.
•You’ve stopped making progress.
•You’ve begun to have trouble with your motivation.
When you give yourself the break that you need, you can return to your workouts with far more strength and enthusiasm.
You need to remember that when you take break, you don’t have to be inactive. You can use the time that you have to try a long walk, a yoga class, or some quiet gardening activity.
Getting your body back to its old fitness level
If you only take a week off, you will usually lose none of your fitness. When you return to your workouts, you can pick up where you left off. If you take a longer break and lose some of your fitness, however, it’s important that you are gradual reintroducing your body to exercise. It’s important to watch out for muscle soreness, and not push yourself too hard the first few weeks. Here are tips:
•Start with simple workouts: You can essentially restart your old routine, but take up shorter distances, lighter weights or lower levels of intensity.
•Give it time: If you’ve lost a little bit of your fitness, you should expect it to take three weeks to return to your old level of fitness.
•Give yourself more rest: If you always rested two days a week before, you should consider giving yourself four days off each week in the beginning upon returning to your workouts. Your muscles will need the time to recover.
When you gradually raise the intensity of your workouts over a period of weeks, you give your body all the time that it needs to adjust to working out again.
Taking breaks can be just as important as working out. You don’t need to get worked up about losing your fitness. Usually, it’s only a matter of days before you get back to where you were, only with more energy and enthusiasm.