exercise hiatus

Remember last week how I first said I was getting sick and then I said I officially wasn’t sick? Well, I did get sick. I spiked a temp of 102.4, had some body aches, cough, sniffles, the whole bit for a whole 24 hours (I was off work). Fortunately the worst of it was very short lived. However, that little bug wreaked havoc on my exercise this past week.  My last real, intense workout was over one week ago.

We all know some rest is good but too much rest can be detrimental. It got me thinking, How long does it take to lose your running fitness?

According to Runners Connect and an article they posted analyzing several research studies, “In less than two weeks, there are measurable declines in fitness, and enzyme levels associated with performance have dropped by half.” (source) What?!

On the bright side, these declines level off after several weeks of inactivity, and if you’ve been training for a long time, much of your “lifetime” aerobic conditioning isn’t going anywhere.” (source) Phew.

Two weeks seems crazy soon! I’m already over half way there. I needed to verify with other sources…

Yep, Fit Sugar agrees and even makes the news a little worse saying: “According to Dr. Karp, ‘within one to two weeks of stopping exercise, changes can already be seen in cardiovascular fitness.’ There are decreases in mitochondrial density and VO2max, aka maximum oxygen level consumption.” (source) Gross.

Ok, I get it. Two weeks. Or even one to two weeks. Fine.

Most of you know that I was a physiology major at the University of Colorado. I took some very interesting (& challenging) classes on the human body and exercise. One of my absolute favorite classes was exercise physiology. It’s really too bad I can’t remember much of what I learned… I still enjoy reading up on physiology and one of the things I love reading about are the benefits of endurance training on the body (VisualMD source):

-Increase Vo2Max
-Increase size of the heart (it is a muscle ya know)
-Increase strength of the heart
-Angiogenesis (development of new blood vessels)
-Decrease resting blood pressure & resting heart rate
-Increase mitochondria aka the little powerhouses that fuel cellular activity
-Increase bone density   
-Improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity (PubMed article)
-And many, many more

Mitochondria. Does that word remind you of sitting in freshman Biology dreaming about what you are going to eat for lunch? Mitochondria are cool because they are powerhouses that fuel basically all cellular activity. They take fat/protein/glucose and churn out ATP (remember that, too?) chemical energy your cells can actually use. The more mitochondria you have in let’s say a muscle cell, the more energy you can pump out & the longer/harder you can go. It’s good stuff.

What do you think the lowest recorded resting heart rate is in a healthy human? A guy named Martin Brady holds the world record for a resting heart rate of…. 27 beats/minute! I can’t find any more information about him on the internet though so I assume he is an athlete but I don’t really know. I also found that Miguel Indurain, a cyclist and five time Tour de France winner, had a resting heart rate of 28 beats/minute. That is one conditioned heart. What’s your resting heart rate? 

After a morning of reading up on the benefits of exercise, I made a date with the treadmill and found my stride after my exercise hiatus. Sometimes getting dressed and getting down there is half of the battle. I listened to Love on Top on repeat for much of the jog. Sue me. My own personal research and verdict? I don’t really feel as if I lost any CV fitness. The run was a little grueling but I also felt somewhat refreshed. Plus, I only had one coughing fit. I’m now back on the wagon.

working it out


In other news, I’m basically learning to drink my coffee black because we always run out of milk, never have cream and I’ve been too lazy to run to the store just for a gallon of milk. We have almost nothing and poor Lu is chronically hungry so I will be making a grocery pit stop today. TGIF! But not for me… I work tomorrow so this is kind of like my Sunday. Make it a good day! xo, lw

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