You can start to feel the effects of not exercising within two weeks of stopping it. Here are some of the ways that will change in your body and mind when you stop exercising.
Stress Levels Increase
Exercising is a great form of stress relief for many people as it releases endorphins and dopamine amongst other things in the brain. What many people don’t know is that exercise completely changes your brain and makes you better equipped with dealing with stressful situations.
Mess Up Your Sleeping Pattern
A study has shown that people sleep better when exercise is part of their routine. A minimum of 2 and a half hours of exercise a week cannot only improve sleep but can make you feel more alert during the day too. This feeling of being more awake during the day is linked to more blood in your brain.
Rise in Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure will naturally change through the day depending on whether you exercise or not. Exercise increases blood flow and this in turn temporarily widens your arteries to facilitate greater circulation. They tend to stay this way for 24 hours and if you don’t get your heart rate back up within that time your blood pressure will return to its baseline.
Skeletal Muscle Starts Resisting Insulin
Losing insulin sensitivity is when your body converts sugar into fat rather than energy. This puts you at greater risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes and inflammation.
A single bout of exercise can increase your mood as your body releases feel-good endorphins. If you make this a daily habit, you’ll more than likely see a long-term boost in mood. Staying active may also fight anxiety, studies have shown that exercise can eliminate anxiety by firing up your fight or flight response.
Your muscles will begin to shrink – and this will happen faster than you think. Even though your muscles will get smaller doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get weaker as a study has suggested that muscle strength is not related to muscle size. This research suggests that strength gains could actually be dependent on neural receptors in the brain and spinal cord.
You might not see the effects now, but later in life, you are likely to see the negative effects of stopping exercising, in terms of your bones. As you get older your bones naturally become more brittle and lose their density, but if you don’t exercise the effects will be a lot more apparent.
Potentially Stronger Muscle Fibres
It’s not all bad news! Taking a short break from exercising can actually strengthen your muscle fibres, as the muscles slightly deteriorate, only for them to get stronger when exercise ensues.