Exercise is a prominent daily struggle for many people. When trying to find balance between what needs to get done and self-care, the latter often loses. But seeing the effect of putting off self-care may be motivation enough. So when you learn some things that happen to your body when you don’t exercise for three days in a row, you might consider making time to work out more often.
Sometimes it's necessary, and even healthy, to take short breaks. After all, if your body's telling you it needs rest, you shouldn't push too hard or go into burnout mode. Going a long period of time without working out, however, starts to have an effect. If you go longer than just a couple days without some sort of activity or work out, your body will start to shift. It won't be sudden and you may not even notice it. But slow, subtle changes will begin to present themselves. That's why it's important that you find ways to remain active when veering from your workout routine.
In order to gain some knowledge (and potentially motivation) for the next time you want to skip your workout for a few days, read through some of the things that start to happen to your body.
1. Your Muscles Stiffen & Their Mass Decreases
In an interview with Elite Daily, studio director and spin instructor Stephanie Dietz said that muscle mass begins to decrease when fibers lose fat-burning capabilities. In other words, you'll start to lose strength by day three of skipping workouts and muscles may begin stiffening.
2. Your "Feel Good" Chemicals Drop
According to Washington's Top News (WTOP), the feel-good chemicals you get from exercise, like endorphins and adrenaline, decrease when you skip workouts. This causes your mood, energy, and productivity to drop as well. And it can begin as early as day two of not working out.
3. You're More Likely To Give Into Cravings
The previously mentioned WTOP article noted that you're setting your body up for more bad cravings after just a three days of not working out. This is because those feel-good chemicals mentioned above are also considered natural appetite suppressants that you're no longer receiving from workouts.
4. Your Heart & Lungs Become Less Fit
According to Peak Fitness, your heart and lung strength fades first when you stop working out. By the third day, heart and lungs are roughly 5 percent less fit already. And that really puts in perspective the increased risk of heart problems for those who don't stay active.
5. You May Have To Ease Back Into It
After just three days, sometimes it can be harder to get motivated or feel like you're working out at 100 percent. Depending on how long you've been exercising prior to your break, the aforementioned Peak Fitness article suggested you may need to ease back into workouts to avoid injury.
6. You Could Come Back Stronger
In an interview with the aforementioned Elite Daily article, Barry's Bootcamp instructor Sam Karl said a break isn't all bad. If you keep your protein intake high and take anywhere from a few days to two weeks off, sometimes you can come back stronger. Especially if you feel you're hitting a burnout stage or need a break.
Overall, taking a break from workouts for a few days isn't all bad. But just because you're taking time off doesn't mean you should completely stop being active. If your body needs rest, it's good to listen to it, but at least continue with basic or more relaxed activities like walks or stretching.