ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Use It or Lose It Principle of Fitness

Updated on August 13, 2012

Use it or lose it!

Your fitness never stands still so you either have to Use it- or lose it! This cyclist will put lots of hours of training in place to ensure he maintains and develops his fitness to guard against deconditioning
Your fitness never stands still so you either have to Use it- or lose it! This cyclist will put lots of hours of training in place to ensure he maintains and develops his fitness to guard against deconditioning | Source

Detraining and Deconditioning in action

Your fitness never stands still. It's forever evolving and developing in either a positive manner or decreasing through the phenomena of deconditioning and detraining principles of fitness.

There are a huge number of factors which can influence how quickly you gain fitness or lose those hard earned fitness gains. Put simply you have the Use It or Lose It principle of fitness.

This article will run through how quickly deconditioning and the loss of fitness occurs and what you can do to counteract such a process.

What is the definition of physical deconditioning?

A steady deterioration in the efficiency or the heart and skeletal muscles in relation to one or more of the below factors

  • a sedentary lifestyle,
  • prolonged bed rest,
  • decreased maximal oxygen uptake
  • decreased lean body mass
  • reduced cardiac output
  • exercise intolerance
  • debilitating disease or
  • clinical psychological problems resulting in decreased physical activity

What is deconditioning in athletes?

Deconditioning, put simply is the loss of fitness over time. It can lead to a long term reduction in sporting performance. It is a gradual physiological process and can simply mean that an athlete or exerciser has lost their performance edge or put in the way of the runner or cyclist as a loss of 'Race Fitness'.

Situations where deconditioning is likely to occur

  • Injury forcing the athlete to temporarily cease exercising
  • Presence of respiratory infection
  • Post competitive season (Positive deconditioning)

How quickly do athletes lose fitness?

In experienced intermediate level and elite athletes a strong base of fitness has been developed over a period of many years of training. This strong base of fitness often leads to a long period of de-training required to return to a lower, more sedentary level of fitness when compared to less experienced athletes and beginners.

No matter what you do for fitness- Use it or lose it!

Your fitness is forever evolving and devolving. You can lose it almost as quickly as you gained it if you don't maintain your activity levels
Your fitness is forever evolving and devolving. You can lose it almost as quickly as you gained it if you don't maintain your activity levels | Source

Positive deconditioning

Sometimes it's not a bad thing to lose some fitness.If an athlete appropriately uses periodisation of training during their athletic year they will factor in different phases of training which allow progression in fitness throughout the sporting year.

After completion of a main period of competition (or Race season) it is likely that the body is physiologically tired and the athlete psychologically requires a break from competition and high level intensity training. Many sports scientists and coaches respond to this as a transition period of active rest and recovery where fitness is allowed to decrease and could be deemed as positive deconditioning prior to off-season training beginning to increase progression in training workload and intensity.

The 'Use It Or Lose It' principle of fitness in the real world

A great real world example (although extreme) of deconditioning and detraining is seen in cases of broken bones where a plaster caste is required to help the bone heal. The inability to move the joint and exercise the joining muscles and ligaments. As the muscles remain inactive and unable to perform their simple basic functions associated with posture and supporting the musculoskeletal system a visible loss in both physical strength down towards a sedentary equivalent and muscle size and tonality decrease.

The Use it Or Lose It Theory and you

If you've spent a period of time building up your fitness there's no need to fret if you miss the occasional workout or even week worth of workouts whether you have other commitments or an awful cold.

As general fitness is developed over an extended period of time it also takes an extended period of time to lose that fitness. In many cases it takes almost as long as it took you to gain the fitness to lose it again. In more specific sports that top level of fitness is often lost relatively quickly whereas the general aspects of your fitness takes an extended space of time to be lost. If you stop those race pace workouts for a period of a few weeks you'll certainly find that your specific race pace will be lower in your next competition.

More on training periodisation

Periodization-5th Edition: Theory and Methodology of Training
Periodization-5th Edition: Theory and Methodology of Training

The comprehensive resource for any athlete or coach on training principles to improve your next competitive sporting season. Bompa is one of the world's experts on Periodization of Training

 

What happens to your body when you stop exercising completely?

A number of physiological changes occur once you stop exercising completely for a period of just a couple of weeks such as

  • Decreased mitochondrial density (mitochondria help to break down adenosine triphosphate to create energy in working muscles),
  • Reduced VO2 max (you're body's ability to work aerobically at higher workloads)
  • Slightly reduced muscle strength and power output.

It is widely believed that your heart and lungs are initially more adversely affected in the initial phases of deconditioning after ceasing exercise. Muscular abilities initially less significantly reduced.

Good luck with your training

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)