If your motivation for exercising disappeared somewhere between the Christmas parties and summer cocktails of the festive season, we’ve got the perfect fix. Here’s why sticking to a fitness training routine, even over Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, is so important.
How Quickly Your Fitness Deteriorates
Everyone knows how much easier it is to lose good health than to gain it, but what exactly happens when you stop exercising? The biggest change you’ll notice in your general fitness levels is a rapid decline in your cardiovascular fitness. If you’re a regular runner who takes any more than a few days off, you’ll find yourself getting puffed much more quickly than usual. This is because your cardio-respiratory system needs to be used regularly to perform optimally.
Something that will also decline very quickly during a prolonged break in your fitness routine is muscle mass. Within roughly two weeks, you’ll see between a 7 to 10% decline in your strength levels, which may have a significant impact on your daily life. On average, most research suggests that you can expect a 70% decline in fitness levels after three months of little to no exercise.
How Quickly Can You Rebuild It?
We don’t know about you, but hearing how quickly your fitness levels can fall off a cliff is the biggest motivation for keeping up a regular fitness routine. And while it takes a lot longer to build up fitness levels than it does to lose them, we’ve also got some reassuring stats for you.
If you’re just getting back into the swing of a routine, research shows that most beginners can double their strength within a period of 12 weeks. And when it comes to cardiovascular fitness, you can expect to see improvements of 20 to 30% within four weeks of interval training.
The most important thing to remember, is that consistency is key to achieving results. So finding a routine that works for you is the best way of making sure you stick to it.
Tips on Sticking to a Fitness Training Routine
Fitting regular exercise into the many demands of daily life is the biggest challenge of maintaining a routine. So here are our tips on keeping up the motivation and making sure fitness becomes an integral part of your daily routine.
- If you’re having trouble getting started with that first workout in a long time, try recalling the things about exercise you like the most. Perhaps you love the feeling of pushing yourself in the last five minutes, or maybe you love the boost of energy you feel for the rest of the day. Knowing and remembering your reasons for exercising is so important for motivation.
- Commit to small chunks of exercise instead of something overwhelming. So instead of telling yourself you need to run for an hour, commit to just 10 minutes and assess how you feel after that. Starting is the hardest part of exercise, so chances are you’ll feel like running for much longer than 10 minutes once you’ve started.
- Schedule fitness training sessions into your diary like appointments. Sit down at the start of the week to work out which times will work in among your other commitments and hold yourself accountable to making fitness another one of those commitments.