Why should you keep an active lifestyle?

You may not have access to a gym all the time or be able to do your normal routine.

But stopping exercise completely comes with some negative consequences!

Read on to find out more:

Be it a legitimate injury or sheer laziness, what really happens to our bodies if we take a break or completely stop exercising?

Well, studies have been performed on this very topic, looking at people who are in shape and learning how their bodies change physiologically after several days, weeks, and months of stopping exercise.

The results are pretty interesting.

Perhaps you grew up playing sports or regularly went to the gym in university but do not have the time or energy to go with the same frequency as before. Whatever you did, let’s assume you do not workout as much as you used to, or maybe not at all. As a result numerous changes occur in your body, some faster than others.

First, your VO2 levels decrease.

This term refers to the amount of oxygen that your body used to convert energy from food to ATP, or adenosine triphosphate. In layman’s terms this means your cardio capacity will suffer first, so running, biking and swimming times are predicted to slow. This can be as much as 7% to 10% in as little as 14 days of inactivity. On the whole, endurance takes the largest hit in the first couple weeks of being sedentary.

Next comes your lean muscle tissue.

While muscle mass tends to be preserved longer, this is also dependent on one’s age and current conditioning level. The older and less trained an individual, the faster their muscle tends to diminish. In other words, if someone has not lifted weights or done resistance training they will get hit the hardest. This atrophic process occurs between two and four weeks of inactivity leading to primarily a loss of speed, strength, and agility.

Your body’s mitochondrial capacity take a hit soon after, meaning the ability of your cells to produce energy decreases. This primarily leads to a decline in fast twitch, or explosive muscle fibers (power output) as well as your coordination.

After a few months of stopping your exercise routine, your body becomes more primed to likely gain fat as a result of a slowed metabolism. You may still lose weight—but it is plausible that 33-50% of this weight loss could be muscle mass—which further decreases your metabolism.


In addition to unwanted fat gain, your joints and tendons stiffen, resulting in tighter muscles, restricted blood flow and increased likelihood of cramps and injury.

Feel like stopping all together?

The subsequent months and years bring about increased risk of health-related issues such as type-II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. Even brain function can become slightly impaired as regular exercise allows for increased oxygen to circulate in the brain and improve cognition while increasing certain hormones like norepinephrine. The physiological effects include increased risk for depression, low self-esteem and lower self-confidence.

As you can see, the more time you take off from regular exercise and remain sedentary, the worse off your body, mind, and overall health become! Building and maintaining a regular exercise habit is incredibly difficult—but so worth it!