This is how quickly you lose muscle and gain fat, says science

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A new study has the magic number – and it surprised us. 

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Maybe work is crazy, you’re injured, or nursing a cold – yes, gaps in your workout routine happen.

It might even be that you’re off on holidays or taking time out to recharge. But how long does it actually take for your previous hard work in the gym to come undone?

According to a recent study presented at the European Congress on Obesity, it takes just two weeks for your body to lose muscle mass and gain fat if you don't train regularly.

A fortnight without exercise can also increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes, too. Gulp.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool enlisted the help of 28 individuals aged 25, who walked at least 10,000 steps a day, were defined as 'moderate to vigorous activity' types, and had a 'healthy BMI'.

By reducing their physical activity by 80 per cent or more (dropping from around 2 hours 41 minutes a day to only 36 minutes), the participants – after 14 days – gained fat, specifically around the stomach area, lost muscle, saw an increase in cholesterol levels and couldn't run as fast.

Before you go cancelling your two week trip to Bali for some R&R, the good news from the study’s co-author Dr Dan Cuthebertson.

“The effects were entirely reversible – so it’s fine if you’re fit and well and you go on holiday for two weeks and then you get right back to normal,” he says.

“But the problem is that many people don’t reverse back to these levels of activity, and then perhaps the effects will accumulate. The longer people are inactive, the harder it is to get back into shape.”

Need some motivation? Here’s 5 tips on how to get it and keep it.

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fitness | body+soul

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