It may be tempting over the summer to dial back on your training, to enjoy the better weather with your friends and family, and generally cut loose. Before deciding to take the whole summer off however it would be wise to consider what happens to your body when you give yourself an exercise summer break.
A Short Break
No-one here is saying that you need to keep up the pace all summer, or indeed all of the time. A short break may actually do you good, both allowing your body to recover and to help you rebuild motivation. It may be difficult to keep at it constantly all year round with any break, so don’t!
Do however consider the effects that a prolonged break will have on you physically as well as mentally.
The Extended Break
Of course, those who have had to stop training altogether due to injury will have no choice in the matter and have to regain both physical and mental wellness again as part of their rehabilitation. The rest of us, however, after a voluntary break from training for weeks or more may find getting back into it dispiriting for a number of reasons.
Assuming you are in very good shape when you take your break and are moderately active throughout it (as opposed to falling into a two-week couch potato programme) it may be slightly easier to get back to it after a break. For those still working to get to a level of fitness that they are happy with, the physical strain may be harder.
Consider the way your muscles work. After a break, you may well find lifting weights at the level you did before the break difficult, your speeds on the track may be slower and so on. Your muscles need a chance to catch back up.
Mentally a prolonged break may be difficult too, particularly as you might not be able to pick up where you left off. Bad habits diet-wise start to sneak in after a while, and you may stop paying as much attention to your hydration needs because you are no longer training (despite the fact that hydration is important whether you are training or not). It might feel that having broken from training for a period that you feel that you are starting from scratch, although in reality that is probably not the case. It takes more than a few weeks or so to complete undo all of the hard work that you have put in previously.
What is the Answer?
Have a break! It’ll do you go. Visit with friends and family, sleep late and try something new. Try not to abandon your fitness mindset completely though. Keep one eye on your diet and your hydration and be active. You don’t need to hit the gym every day or the running track, far from it. You may enjoy walks, swimming and alternative activities as part of your fun break as let’s face it, you’ll miss the endorphins physical activity offers you otherwise.
A couple of takeaways and lazy days will not “ruin” anything however make sure you don’t abandon your healthy ways altogether, this summer; you’ll be very glad you didn’t when the time comes to step back into your training regime.