Let’s be honest and recognize that at some point in life we were not as active or stopped working out for a period of time. Some of us are going through this period right now or have family and friends that we are trying to encourage to take that next step. This is a common part of life that should not bring us shame or make us discouraged. Even trainers, coaches, and athletes sometimes go weeks or even months without working out. Some of the most common circumstances of having a period of inactivity could stem from newborns entering the household, busy work/life schedules, depression, and lack of motivation due to unawareness of how to start or what to do. These are five things that happen when we stop working out and have periods of physical inactivity.
1. Our heart has to work harder! If our hearts are working harder to pump more blood, there is an increased risk of possible blood clots, heart disease, and rising blood pressure. Our heart is the engine in the body and our blood is gasoline.
2. Our energy levels decrease! We may notice ourselves getting tired during daily things in life such as going upstairs at work or even carrying the laundry basket around the house. Sleep patterns are also not as good since you are waking up at odd times and having difficulty falling asleep.
3. Our musculoskeletal system gradually deteriorates! Have you ever heard of the old saying “If you don’t use it, you lose it”? This applies to our muscles, tendons, and bones whenever they are not in motion. Our muscle mass and strength decrease, and our joint inflammation increases when we are not active. We also put our bodies at risk of overcompensation due to muscle imbalances that lead to low back pain, hip, shoulder, or knee complications
4. Our metabolism decreases! Metabolism refers to the body’s ability to utilize energy for basic life functions like breathing or brain-functioning activity. A decrease in metabolism can lead to an unexpected increase in weight gain and sugar cravings. Dry skin and headaches may even become more common since the thyroid glands are underactive.
5. Our Mental health and self-esteem decrease! When we are feeling “gross” or not comfortable in our bodies we are not confident. We are ashamed as we grab the old clothes in the closet that we can’t fit anymore or when we walk past and look in the mirror. These feelings are igniters to the onset of depression that may last months or even years. Our mental health and physical health are connected to each other for sustained wellness and longevity.
If you are already an active individual, stay an active individual and continue to challenge your body to reach new heights. It is important to remember these five points above if you ever hit a slump or make excuses for not being active. If you are currently in an active slump and need some motivation, always remember it’s NEVER too late to start your journey. Age and time are irrelevant. Start small and gradually build into something you enjoy. It only takes 5% of your day and 50 minutes of your time. Are you Game?