What Happens to Your Body When You Suddenly Stop Exercising?

Stopping exercise drastically changes your body.

Stopping exercise drastically changes your body.

Workout days are always a pleasure. You know that at some point during the day, you will be sweating profusely and panting harder than a Labrador retriever on a hot summer day. Over time, the thought of continuing the torture overtakes the thought of remaining physically fit and you decide to stop exercising. Soon after stopping your exercise routine, you begin to notice changes to your body as it begins to detrain. Detraining has side effects that change your cardiovascular health and the condition of the muscles in your body.

Weight Loss

This may seem impossible, but shortly after stopping your exercise routine, you will see a slight drop in your weight. Although the weight loss will only be a few pounds, it may make you feel like you spent all your time exercising for nothing. The weight loss will soon turn to weight gain after your body adjusts to a slower pace and your metabolism slows down. As you begin to lose weight, you will begin to notice your body changing from toned and fit to loose and flabby.

Muscle Atrophy

Since you are no longer pushing your body to its limit, your muscles will begin to shrink. As they shrink, they will begin to lose mass and leave more room for fat. This can lead to weight loss and will lead to you losing strength and muscle definition. Although an old saying states that muscle turns to fat, it does not; the fat actually builds over the muscle.

Loss of Cardio Conditioning

Aerobic, plyometric and anaerobic exercises condition your heart and lungs. After sitting on the couch for a few weeks, your heart and lungs will detrain to a more sedative state and you will begin to notice changes in your ability to run, climb the stairs or chase children around. The effects of cardio detraining intensify as your body begins to store additional fat.

Weight Gain

During exercise, your body required more fuel to feed your muscles and to provide the calories you needed to replenish the calories burned during your routine. This causes you to eat more food to keep your body stocked with calories. Since your metabolism will lower after stopping your routine, your body will store the extra calories as fat. This is disheartening when you worked out hard and fat now sits in place of toned rock-hard muscle.

 

About the Author

Lynda Schwartz is a fitness professional who began writing in 2004. She has contributed to "Women's Day" and "Good Housekeeping" magazines, as well as covered fitness and well-being for online publications. Schwartz holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science and health promotion.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images