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How Fast Does Fitness Level Drop?

Have you ever wondered how fast your fitness levels drop if you have to stop exercising for a while?

In general, the loss of aerobic capacity occurs more quickly than loss in muscle strength. Even two weeks of not training can lead to a reduction in cardio fitness, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Not exercising for two to eight months leads to loss of almost all fitness gains. In addition to cardiovascular, fitness and strength losses, any improvements in increasing good blood cholesterol levels, decreases in blood pressure and insulin sensitivity can be lost in just one month.

How fast can you get it back? If your time off was long, it may take you nearly as long to retrain as it did to become fit originally. If you have to take some time off, rather than totally abandoning your workouts make them shorter yet effective by concentrating on doing interval training to maintain your fitness levels. For strength training, a shorter travel or at-home workout can be designed by an experienced trainer to aid in decreasing strength losses.

• Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases; Volume 24, Issue 7, Pages 792–798, July 2014

• Bajpeyi, S., Tanner, C., Slentz, C., Duscha, B.D., McCartney, J.S., Hickner, R.C. et al. Effect of exercise intensity and volume on persistence of insulin sensitivity during training cessation. J Appl Physiol. 2009; 106: 1079–1085

• Baynard, T., Carhart, R.L. Jr., Ploutz-Snyder, L.L., Weinstock, R.S., and Kanaley, J.A. Short-term training effects on diastolic function in obese persons with the metabolic syndrome. Obesity. 2008; 16: 1277–1283

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