The effects of stopping exercise: Part one

What happens to individuals who exercise regularly and miss a workout?

Many people know the benefits to exercising regularly and know exercise does a body good, but what happens to individuals who exercise regularly and miss a workout? It’s interesting to consider the thought of how quickly your body begins to lose all the benefits once achieved by exercising regularly.

Here’s the low down on physiological changes associated with falling off the exercise wagon. Within the first couple of weeks there will be a detraining effect on the cardiovascular system causing noticeable changes to the individual. Small daily demands on breathing such as chasing the dog, walking up a flight of stairs, or walking with a bag of groceries become more difficult than they once were. After only two weeks there is a decrease in the VO2 max which is the maximum amount your body can intake oxygen which makes the body more efficient in daily life since oxygen is very important to living. In a study of time shows after four weeks, VO2 max can drop by 7 percent in the first 21 days, and a four week study showed a decrease in VO2 max by 21 percent in individuals.

Cardiovascular changes are important for the strength of the heart but what happens to the brain?

Without the increased blood flow to the brain from regular exercise , there is a change in the hippocampus of the brain which has an effect on emotion and memory. The emotional benefits to exercise is important to the positive daily functions of most people, so when exercise is ceased, it will give an individual the opposite effect possibly causing some levels of depression in a person who regularly exercised.

This does not include the effects exercise has on the aging of the brain. Exercise keeps the brain younger by increasing important hormones and blood flow. A recent study showed the decline in the brain systems when exercise is not regularly performed which could show an increase in aging of the brain. Although this research has been performed, there does need to more research done in the area of stopping exercising on the aging portion of the brain.

Stopping exercise affects the cardiovascular system and the brain, but what about the body’s vitals?

It is widely written how exercise decreases blood pressure and the benefits of lower blood pressure on the population experiencing elevated blood pressure. High blood pressure can be a sign of heart disease and can cause many serious health issues.

In a study comparing blood pressure responses after 6 months of exercise training to two weeks of detraining found exercise training lowers blood pressure, while blood pressure increases and goes back to pre-training levels. Another study conducted found the effects of stopping exercise for two weeks reduced blood pressure benefits gained from a high intensity interval training of two weeks.

Michigan State University Extension’s Health and Nutrition Institute has many programs to help individuals continue exercise programs. Experts from MSU Extension make it possible to bring communities together and to educate citizens on a healthy lifestyle for a positive behavior change.

Part two

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