Have you ever taken a vacation from running or working out? For the most part, I have not. Aside from a three-week hiatus from running due to surgery, I have not taken more than 3 days off in a row.
Some people see this as dedication while others just think I’m crazy or borderline obsessed. What do I think? I think I’m worried about getting out of shape because I spent so many years getting into shape and maintaining it. I remember the three-week hiatus – it was sooo hard to start running again after that. Granted, I just had surgery three weeks before, but still, it was one of the biggest hurdles I’ve had to overcome in relation to exercise. And rightly so.
Experts say that after two weeks of not exercising you may lose a little of your fitness level, but should be able to bounce back fairly quickly. However, an exercise gap of longer than 2 weeks can cause your fitness level to drop even further, making it much harder to get back to your original fitness level. Yet, experts also say that those individuals who already have a fitness base (those who have been in good shape prior to the exercise gap) are much better off than those who have never really exercised.
My three-week running gap did affect my overall fitness, weight, and toning. I felt out of shape and just breathing during exercise was a challenge. But, I stuck with it knowing that I was in great shape before and that with hard work, I could get there again. Sure enough, after a slow start, followed by incremental increases in running, I was able to get back to my original running distance and pace in 3-4 weeks. It was tough, yes, but so worth it in the end.
If you are contemplating an exercise hiatus for more than 2 weeks, remember that the more time you take off the harder it will be to come back.