You may want to read this if for no other reason than to save your life.
This is a hot topic these days as we Boomers continue to age in spite of our best efforts to deny it.
I know. I still toss my AARP notices.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, I have been in the gym my entire adult life.
I eat right, get enough rest, have varied interests and passions, including a love life. Most psychiatrists would agree that this constitutes a balanced existence. You may want to reconfirm this with yours.
But maintaining a balanced existence is kind of like maintaining an aquarium. it requires a constant set of variables. If one falters, they all do.
In a human context, let’s use working out of as an example.
If I take one week off, it takes me three weeks to get back to where I was. In this sense, it’s unforgiving. You have to stay on the wheel to keep reaping the benefits. Walk away for a few days and you’re back to square one.
This alone is enough to incite many to throw in the towel for good, but the problems resulting from this decision are far worse than abandoning the hamster wheel.
I might also add at this juncture that the “wheel” is far more addictive than it sounds lest you think I’m knocking a kick-ass workout.
With this in mind, here are a few downsides to stopping:
1] Blood Pressure Soars: Blood pressure is almost always higher on the days you don’t exercise. In fact, within a month, you back to square one as if you’d never exercised a day in your life.
2] Blood Sugar Soars: Blood glucose rises after you eat, then drops as your muscles and other tissues suck up the sugar they need for energy. But after five days of slothfulness, your post-meal blood sugar levels remain elevated.
3] You’re Out of Breath: Within two weeks of avoiding the gym, your VO2 max—a measure of fitness that assesses how much oxygen your working muscles can use—decreases by as much as 20%.
4] Your Muscles Wilt: Significant declines in muscle mass are experienced after two weeks of complete rest. What’s more, some muscle fibers actually convert from fastest-twitch type IIa to more explosive but faster-fatiguing type IIx. This can hamper your ability to sustain high-intensity efforts.
5] You Fatten Up: Within about a week, your muscles lose some of their fat-burning potential and your metabolism slows down.
6] Your Brain Flatlines : Though human evidence is limited, rat studies presented at a recent Society for Neuroscience conference suggest animals that stop moving for just a week grow fewer new brain cells and do worse on maze tests than those who stick to a steady wheel-running routine.
The six line items above are all backed up with research you’ll find in the report. While I’m not personally involved in the studies, I can certainly attest to their findings.
If you don’t work out on a regular basis, your body will begin to look and feel like a war zone before you’ve ordered your last Margarita on a 10-day – sit on your butt and watch the seagulls – jaunt to Tahiti.
No matter how much money you have at your disposal, or how much hair you have left on your head, without a consistent health regimen, you’ll be dead long before you’re buried.