You know that you need to exercise. This is information that nearly everyone accepts as true. But do you know how quickly a lack of exercise can impact your health and how severely?
A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology advises that skipping workouts for only two weeks can “significantly reduce your cardiovascular fitness, lean muscle mass, and insulin sensitivity.” Yes, just two weeks.
Dr. James Ting says that you lose all of your fitness gains from two months of skipping workouts. Although, coach Pete Magill says that you can lose up to 50 percents of your fitness gains from just one week of inactivity.
While the exact time frame is not set in stone and may vary depending on the person and specifics about that person’s situations, what seems clear is that inactivity is a serious health risk that our modern world encourages. In fact, Matthew Beekley, Ph.D. of the University of Indianapolis says,
“Humans were designed to move, and not moving is a direct threat to health and wellness in the same way that smoking tobacco is[…]. Many scientists believe that being sedentary should be considered a disease in itself.”
While all activity is beneficial to the body and even 20 minutes of consistent activity like walking or jumping rope can help to balance hormones such as insulin in the body, not all exercises work equally well and provide benefits in areas of special concern in our modern age. For example, you will tend to keep muscle strength longer than cardiovascular fitness over periods of inactivity.
Living in the modern era isn’t all bad news for your health, though. Aside from the obvious advances in emergency medical treatment, newer types of exercise regiments have appeared, giving hope to those who are trapped in the time deficit of a busy life.
In addition to making simple changes like taking the stairs and parking farther out in a parking lot to get a few more steps in, concepts such as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) aim to provide a complete workout in a minimum time frame, allowing a person to keep in shape within the time that they have available.
Whatever exercise regiment that you decide upon, consistency in your workout is key.