July 29, 2012

Less Can Be More

The longer days of summer offer a chance for many to step up their fitness programs.  Others find that changed schedules and vacations make it harder to maintain their exercise.  A frequent question I hear is, “how long does it take to lose my conditioning?”
The good news is that research shows that your fitness level can be maintained if you keep your intensity up.  If you totally stop exercising, the reversal of your fitness gains can occur within one to two weeks.  However, even if you workout for shorter periods of time, and less frequently, if you workout just as intensely you will not lose your conditioning.  This goes for aerobics and resistance training.  For example, if you usually do two sets of lifting weights four days a week, you will not lose strength if you only lift one set two days a week, but lift the same amount of weight.  Do not allow missing a few workouts to deter you from your goal; workout just as intensely and you will be able to get right back on track when your schedule allows.

Swank Ann M. Maintaining Your Fitness Gains. ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal. 2012:16(4):35-36.

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