Most people understand the benefits of regular exercise - a better figure, Improved strength and dexterity and greater endurance-- but very few are aware of what happens to muscles when they are neglected and left inactive. As your body moves to a sedentary state, the muscles suffer a setback. Understanding how muscles work and what happens when you stop exercising will help you structure an exercise regimen and maintain muscle mass and definition.
How do muscles work?
When you exercise, your body does not really create new muscles. Instead, existing muscle cells grow larger and stronger, and the number of capillaries - the blood vessels networked between arterioles and venules - increases. With regular exercise, muscles also develop more mitochondria, this is where the biochemical processes of respiration and energy production occur in the cell. The result of this is a more defined and large muscle mass, and not a new muscle tissue.
From exercise to inactivity
Adopting a sedentary - or inactive - lifestyle as a lifestyle has the opposite effect on muscles. The increased blood flow that was needed to feed your cells during exercise is no longer necessary and, therefore, your body begins to contract and reduce the size of the capillaries. The muscles do not disappear or become fat, but shrink and decrease the mass. Fat can be produced if your diet provides your body with more calories than what is required for the level of activity you are carrying.
While quitting exercise can reduce the size of your muscles, very poor nutrition, hunger and disease can cause muscle atrophy, causing the muscles to be completely lost. Without the calories, vitamins or nutrients of healthy foods, your body will be immersed in a state of malnutrition. This not only causes permanent damage to other organs, but can also lead to death.
Maintaining your muscles
Staying active and following a healthy diet means maintaining your muscle mass and preventing the buildup of body fat. A few push-ups, sit-ups and stretches every day will help you keep your muscles active and your body agile. Beyond the tournament weights or training for a triathlon, if you dedicate a couple of hours a day, only a few days a week, it means that you will have the rest of the week off.Investe only 10 to 20 minutes during your days off to keep your muscles awake.