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May 9, 2017

What damage does skipping the gym really do?

Image credit: iStock/jacoblund

We all have those days when the last thing we want to do is go to the gym. Sometimes you might manage to drag yourself in, whereas other days you might convince yourself that it isn’t too big a deal if you skip it just this once.

Whether you’re avoiding the gym because you just don’t have the energy or you’re genuinely too busy to make time for it, one day can easily become two and before you know it, you’re out of your routine. If you manage to ensure that you’re only taking a day off, this isn’t going to do too much damage, but any longer than this could soon have an impact.

Pausing your workouts for longer periods of time or only going to the gym sporadically can mean you’re undoing all the effort you’ve previously put in. To help you work out whether skipping out on exercise is worth is, here’s what damage avoiding the gym really does:

Everything gets stiff

Regular exercise helps to work your muscles out and stop them from hurting or getting overly stiff. The longer you don’t go to the gym, the stiffer they’ll become, which can result in pain and discomfort.

You’ll also find that when you do start exercising again, your muscles get tired more easily and you won’t be able to manage what you were doing before. This means you’ll have to put more work in to get back to your previous level.

Metabolism slows down

Skipping the gym for a week or longer will see your metabolism start to slow down, which can mean your weight starts to creep up, even if you’re still eating healthily. Exercise is a vital part of getting your metabolism going so not getting enough will mean your body isn’t burning as much fat.

This will pick up again when you start working out regularly, but just as with your muscles, it will take a while to get it back to your previous level.

You’ll get more stressed

As well as dealing with muscles that feel tense, your body won’t be releasing hormones triggered by exercise, which can leave you feeling a lot more stressed. Working out releases serotonin, endorphins and dopamine, resulting in an exercise high that leaves you feeling great.

This doesn’t just impact you during and after your gym session, it helps to boost overall wellbeing, which can diminish if you aren’t getting your exercise in.

Sleep will be harder to come by

Another big plus when it comes to exercise is that it helps you get more quality sleep, as well as helps you to drift off much easier. Take away exercise and you could be in for a few restless nights that leave you feeling tired and cranky.

On top of this, feeling tired isn’t going to help encourage you to get to the gym any time soon, so your sleep pattern is likely to get worse.

Bad habits will creep in

Feeling tired, messing up your routine and not feeling as great as you normally do are all things that can trigger bad habits and make them common place. After all, you’re already skipping the gym, so why not eat that junk food too?

We all need a routine and if you go to the gym, this soon becomes part of it, helping you to avoid habits that have a negative effect on your health. Take away the gym and you lose the drive to be healthy.

Long-term benefits won’t be visible

While you may have short-term goals in mind when it comes to exercise, hitting the gym regularly also offers a whole host of long-term benefits for physical and mental health. However, you’ll only see this if you keep up with your workout routine.

Exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and so skipping out on it for long periods of time will drastically affect what you get out of it. If you’re going to skip the gym for any reason, make sure you get back there tomorrow to ensure your hard work isn’t totally undone.

 

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