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Taking a Break From the Gym? How Long is Too Long?

Taking a Break From the Gym? How Long is Too Long?

Making a routine of going to the gym regularly is a great way to stay healthy, but when things like bad weather, work, and busy schedules are thrown into the mix it becomes very easy to skip your workouts. Skipping a workout day here and there isn’t all that bad, but when a day turns into a weeks experts say we are basically hitting the “rewind” button on all the progress we made.

CNN reports about what skipping workouts for longer periods of time can mean to your health. But don’t worry if you’re just skipping a day here and there, experts say that people who train hard can actually benefit from skipping days. Taking a short break from heavy duty training can help improve muscle development, strength and aerobic fitness as well as mental health. Dr. James Ting, a board-certified sports medicine physician with the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, California explains, “Your body and mind both need time to recover for overall health and in order to achieve optimal performance. Failing to recognize this and training too hard can lead to fatigue and, ironically, underperformance, the so-called overtraining syndrome.”

But how long of a break from your workout is too long? One study from the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that taking two weeks off can lead to a serious reduction in cardiovascular health, lean muscle mass and insulin sensitivity. Ting adds that it can be a full two months or more before you lose all of the benefits from working out.

Sometimes it’s not work or bad weather that gets in the way of working out. Taking part in strenuous workouts can leave our bodies sore for days. If you are still feeling sore three days after a workout you may need to slow down a bit. Ting explains that there’s really no rule as to whether you should skip a few days or more. He says, “It may be as short as a few days, but it's important to realize as well that it can also be up to one to two weeks without any significant detriment or loss in previous fitness gains.” But he also warns that we shouldn’t just lay around during our “workout breaks”, lighter exercise like walking or doing yoga are great ways to stay active while your body heals.

Why do you skip workouts?

Do you have a hard time getting back into the routine of exercising after taking a break?

 

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  • Bagel2332 By Bagel2332
    06.27.15  

    This is good information to have. I am required my work to go to the gym twice a week (they pay for the membership) but I try to go 3-4 times a week. I also try to workout at home on my elliptical 1-2 days a week. But I will admit, if I have work backing up or stuff to do around the house, I will skip working out except those two required days per week. I find its hardest to start working out again after I've gone on vacation so I try to use the fitness center every morning at the hotel to stay in my routine

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