As we head into the silly season filled with alcohol, food and festivities, and then into the lazy, chilled and idle month of January, I like to remember this old yet wise saying – “use it or lose it”. Le’ts face it, everyone has missed a Pilates session or 2 and in fact I am a believer in cutting yourself some slack when needed and giving your body a rest. However, we also know how 3 days off can easily snowball into 2 weeks, so how long does it take to lose your strength/fitness?
The answer to this question depends on many variables but one vital fact is how fit you were to start with and long your break is. There is little doubt that it is easier to bounce back from some time off if you have been exercising regularly several times a week and for a while and this is because your muscle memory is solid.
Another factor we need to look at is strength loss versus cardiovascular loss. If we look at strength loss you will notice a slight decrease after 2 weeks of inactivity but up to a 70% loss of strength you have built up after 3 months!!! Cardio loss happens a lot quicker and the most noticeable change will be in the aerobic fitness in the first couple of days – the ability of the heart, lungs and blood to pump oxygenated blood to the muscles. If you take a break for more than a couple of days your cardiovascular fitness drops off very quickly.
SO WHAT IS THE ANSWER?
Enjoy this wonderful time of the year but do make sure you keep up with some activity. Make sure you go for a regular walk or light jog and keep up your Pilates exercises. Coupled with sensible eating you will be happy and content with your start to 2018!