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19 Dec 2004

how fast does one lose fitness???
stamina and strength...that is...
i havnt been able to run or weight train for two weeks due to illness, and now that i'm healthy again...i'm scared to start exercising again for fear that i've lost so much muscle and aerobic ability that i would have to start from scratch again...ugh.
So....would u perhaps be able to tell me how much damage have been done??
I was sort of fit to start with - could run an hour continuously at about 9 or 10 km/hr, but now....:(
now i don't know, and i dob't think i wanna know...
Answer 449 views

01 Jan 0001


The good news is that you are probably overreacting quite a bit - 2 weeks is a blink of the eye for most exercisers. Elite athletes maybe have a different timescale, but two weeks to a recreational exerciser can be retrieved in no time. Don't worry about the muscle - you don't lose that much muscle mass in 2 weeks. Obviously, there might be some, but it's so small, that you really won't notice it. Particularly since you have not been immobile - if you are bedridden or completely incapable of even walking, then it's a little worse, but in your case, you will start up pretty much where you left off, as far as the muscle mass goes.

It will however be a little more difficult than when you left it. Quite why this is, we don't really understand. of course, there are little physiological changes that occur, and these make it feel a little more difficult than it used to be, but I suspect that the main problem is neural/central, in that you lose 'memory' of what exercise feels like. If I can give you the counterexample, when you start training, what happens is that the central nervous system adapts and you become better at using your muscles (more co-ordinated, to put it simply). THis is the first response to training, and perhaps what happens when you go off training is that you lose this first. So, when you start now, having rested for 2 weeks, you may have all the tools at your disposal (or most of them, anyway), but you might just need a few days to regain your ability to exercise and feel the same. In otherwords, you just have to back off your normal expectations for about a week, and then you should be back in the full swing after this. It might even have benefitted you to take this break, because your body perhaps needed to rest for a while.

So, practically speaking, what you need to do is to go back, without fear, but just set a realistic goal. You won't be able to run 60 minutes at 9 or 10 km per hour straight away. But that's OK, because in a week, you will. My advice is that you start off with 30 minutes of jogging, then next time do 40 minutes, then 45 minutes, and then keep that going for about a week, and within a week, you will be right up to the normal 60 minutes again.

Good luck, and don't panic if it doesn't go according to plan - it's Christmas time, things are festive and laid back, training hard now is a tough ask, and so just maintain and in the new year start up again.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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