How to Stay Fit During Breaks and Holidays

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Everyone will experience an interruption in their exercise and workout schedule from time to time. Holidays, weddings, vacations, injury and even illness can all force you to take some time off no matter how dedicated you are to your training. So, how can you keep exercise a priority when your schedule changes? And how little (or how much) exercise can you get away with and still maintain your fitness?

While there isn't one right answer for everyone, most experts agree that it all depends upon your goals and your current level of fitness. If your main goal is to maintain your fitness level during a few weeks of reduced training, then some moderate exercise for 30 minutes every other day is all you need. If your current level of fitness is high and you want to keep it that way, you will need to adjust your exercise time, type and intensity accordingly.

You'll start deconditioning (losing fitness) in about two weeks if you stop exercise altogether. It takes nearly three times as long to recondition as it took to detrain.

Maintain Fitness With Short, High-Intensity Exercise

If you need to reduce your training time for a couple of weeks, don't worry. You'll get back to your current fitness level pretty quickly when your schedule returns to normal. Just don't stop exercising altogether.

Studies have shown that you can prevent declines in cardiovascular fitness for up to three weeks simply by doing higher intensity exercise (70-75 percent of maximum heart rate) for as little as two days per week.

Top Ways to Maintain Fitness During Breaks

At a minimum, perform two high-quality, high-intensity, 30-minute training sessions each week for up to three weeks and you should be able to maintain your fitness level until you can resume your usual program.

Don't skip exercise for more than about three weeks or you will see an overall decline in fitness that will take some effort to regain.

Maintain Your Exercise Routine During Breaks and Holidays

Instead of detraining and reconditioning, you may be able to keep up your exercise routine after all.

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By Elizabeth Quinn
Elizabeth Quinn is an exercise physiologist, sports medicine writer, and fitness consultant for corporate wellness and rehabilitation clinics.