Summer’s on its way! Now that the nicer weather is here, we all start thinking ahead to long walks on the beach, swimming, playing a pickup game in the park . . . you know, summer stuff. With all that increased activity, it’s cool to skip the gym, right?
Hold on a sec. I know I’m biased, but skipping the gym this summer may not be your best move. Summer activities are great for getting you out and about, but can they really replace the work you’re putting in at the gym? Here are some reasons you might want to stick around.
You’ll start losing muscle mass . . . quickly
Taking a week off for a family vacation is fine. No matter how fit you were before your vacation, it still won’t be undone in a week. Studies show, however, that your body can start to lose lean muscle mass and endurance in as little as two weeks. Now, the fitter you are, the longer your body will stay in shape – your body doesn’t actually like to change. However fit you are, it will take about 2 months for all your hard work to be completely undone.
Strength goes before endurance
You know, because you know how hard it was to build them: your fast-twitch muscles, the ones used for most strength-type movements aren’t muscles the average person uses in a day. Most of our daily activities are slow-twitch: walking, performing chores, etc. Since they still get used, they take longer to atrophy. Unless your daily life involves lifting heavy objects, your strength will go much more quickly.
Keeping your muscles strong and active can go a long way towards preventing injury, particularly as you age. When your muscles are strong, they can help keep all of your joints moving in the direction they’re intended to – fewer twisted ankles and torqued knees. In addition, weight-bearing exercise is important for bone health, particularly in post-menopausal women. As you work your muscles, the fibers pull against the bone, actually creating new bone growth.
Keep your metabolism revving
When you have a higher lean muscle mass, you burn more calories, even when you’re not active. That means, if you hit the gym in the morning, you’ll still be burning calories even when you’re lying on the beach in the afternoon. As we age, our metabolisms slow naturally. By keeping up with our strength training, we can help keep our metabolism functioning the best it can.
What if I HAVE to take time off?
If you’ve already got a cross-country RV trip planned with the family, don’t fret! But also don’t jump right back in where you left off when you get back. We’ll work with you to create a modified version of your previous routine that gets you back into exercising safely and effectively.
If you’re a college or high school student looking for some EXTRA activity over the summer months, ask about our specialized performance training programs. And, as always, feel free to sign up at any time for your free trial. Let’s get building that muscle!