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.
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.
- Add 30-second sprint training twice a week.
- Add interval training routines twice a week.
- Add short, high-intensity workouts in order to burn more calories in less time.
- Use the days when you can’t exercise for rest and recovery. Keep the high-intensity days 2 to 4 days apart for maximum benefit and allows plenty of time for rest, which is essential if you are doing high-intensity workouts.
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.
- Exercise in the morning and you are far more likely to do it!
- Use the S.M.A.R.T. principle and set some real goals for your routine and your motivation.
- Schedule exercise and put it on your calendar.
- Ask your family or friends for support.
- Make exercise a family activity.
- Use the same tips that beginners use for getting started and sticking with exercise.
- Exercise at home or in a hotel with a no equipment body weight workout.
- Review the top 10 fitness equipment ideas for travelers.
- Maintain a balanced attitude and enjoy the variety of shorter workouts.
- Use the time off to rest, cross train or as a way to combat overtraining.