We all know that eating right and exercising is extremely essential for one’s well-being. It is known to boost one’s strength, the immune system and also help maintain body weight. In fact, experts stress that one should exercise for at least 40 minutes every day — it can either be a brisk walk or a session at the gym. But despite knowing about these many benefits, laziness takes over and we somehow just cannot pull ourselves from under the warm blankets and get going, especially in the winter months. In the end, the fitness routine goes for a toss. But have you ever wondered what happens to your body when you stop exercising?
“(Peak) winters last for approximately two months in India, and if during this time a person decreases the amount of exercise time, then it doesn’t really make a difference. But if they stop exercising altogether and break their routine, then they need to start from scratch. This is because the body needs reconditioning. It has also been proven that exercising regularly keeps many non-communicable diseases at bay,” Ismit Tyagi, physiotherapist, Columbia Asia Hospital, informed indianexpress.com.
Experts say that one may not realise instantly, but lack of exercise can impact one’s health in many ways, including making one extremely lethargic. Dr BM Jha, HOD, Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Science Department, Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) adds that quitting exercising can lead to high risk for loss in muscle mass, loss of endurance, weight gain, depression, blood sugar, along with the bones becoming fragile, and insomnia in some cases. “Also, a sharp rise in blood pressure and blood glucose level can be experienced — which can lead to complications in people with diabetes or high blood pressure,” he said.
It must be noted, points out Dr Parmila Sharma, HOD, Physiotherapy, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon, that if a person doesn’t exercise for three days, they go back seven days. “The muscles undergo weakness, they become lethargic and the joints become stiff,” she said.
But it doesn’t end there as experts say that when a person stops exercising, their body starts losing muscle mass and strength within three weeks.
“This is followed by the body’s fat percentage increasing. And if the calorie consumption remains as before, then weight gain is also seen. When you sit for most of the day, your bone density will decline faster. Without exercise one may lose control over blood pressure and blood sugar levels. After stopping exercise, the brain will begin to change, and the person may have brain fog or not feel as cheerful,” Seema Singh, Chief, Clinical Nutritionist at Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj told indianexpress.com.
So, should a person’s exercise routine change according to the seasons? While it is important that a person exercises according to their convenience and immunity level, Tyagi suggests that one should not exercise after 10 am in summers, and must ensure that they keep themselves hydrated at all times. “In winters, since the pollution levels are especially high, one should exercise indoors. But if they prefer the outdoors, then it should not be early morning or evening,” he says.
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