So you’re ready to start moving more and get into better shape. Great! It’s easy to rush in and try to do everything all at once. But there are some good reasons to take your time getting fit. Not only will you stick with it longer, but you’ll also be healthier along the journey.
It Takes Time For Your Body To Adapt
When you first start working out, you will initially improve a lot. This can be very motivating and drive you to work harder. The problem is this progress won’t be the norm through your training.
This initial progress is due to neurological adaptations. They happen very rapidly. In fact, you could see a marked improvement from workout to workout! This is your body better coordinating the movement and learning to better use the muscle mass it already has. After a few weeks, this progress will level off.
The next adaptation is cardiovascular. Your body becomes better adjusted to deal with the by-products generated during the workout and uses oxygen more efficiently. This is also one of the fastest adaptations to drop off during a time you don’t train. Your body also generates more mitochondria, which are the cell structures that generate energy to contract.
Next is the adaptation that everyone strives for. The added stress on your body forces it to build muscle to better handle the workload. Most of us are familiar with the muscle development that comes along with regular training. This adaptation can take several weeks to a few months to really show. However, as long as you’re regularly active you’ll maintain most of your muscle development even during a layoff.
Let’s not forget that training also puts a strain on your skeletal system. The added load causes the skeleton to flex slightly and in response, your body builds up their density to better handle the added forces. Your connective tissue is also part of this months-long adaptation. It can take 6-12 months for these two systems to make a significant change. If you push too hard to fast fractures and breaks, or torn tendons and ligaments can be the result.
Take Your Time For Your Health
It’s all too often someone starts working out and see great progress. This starts the cycle of pushing harder and harder to see more and more progress. And the end result is too frequently an injury. Don’t be in a rush. You have your whole life to be healthy and fit. A little bit every day will get you farther than sprinting a day here and a day there.
Give your body time to adapt to the new stresses you’re placing on it. Overworking yourself once in a while is good. It tests your limits and stimulates new progress. But there has to be a balance. Slow and steady wins the race.