The Studies Are In: Maybe *Don’t* Take that Break

It happens. You are on a much-needed and deserved vacation. Maybe you are with a friend, your family, your sweetheart, or maybe just getting away on your own. The temptation is to take a break from everything — work, email and social media, even Netflix. Or maybe it’s just a crazy busy time of year. Kids heading back to school, activities ramping up, and something has got to give in the schedule. Whatever the reason, you decide it’s a good time to take a break from exercise.

Please reconsider. And here’s why: new research tells us taking even a short break from your regular exercise routine can have lasting – and seriously negative – effects on your health.


The subjects of a ground-breaking study had previously walked for more than 10,000 steps on most days. They were asked to sit more (3.5 hours per day more) and cut their steps to fewer than 2,000. At the beginning of the study, the subjects’ metabolisms and body compositions were recorded.

After two weeks, well, the scientists who conducted the study called the results “metabolic derangements.” Yikes. In other words, their metabolisms had completely changed.

In just two weeks.

Yes, even just a two-week break, and the effects showed clearly in their blood tests, including the following:

  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Less healthy cholesterol profiles
  • Lost muscle mass in legs
  • INCREASED belly fat

Another study focused on the effects of decreased activity on overweight people past the age of 65 who were at risk for developing diabetes. They were otherwise healthy and walked, on average, 7,000 to 8,000 steps per day. They were asked to sit more and to reduce their steps below 1,000 for two weeks.

The effects:

  • Worsened blood sugar levels
  • Insulin resistance climbed
  • Lost muscle mass
  • And a number had to be removed from the study due to increased risk for Diabetes Type 2 after becoming inactive for that short a period of time.

The scientists found the more sudden the inactivity, the more drastic the effects. Additionally, with sudden change comes greater effects on insulin resistance levels. Worst yet, although it may be only a two-week break from exercise, it takes at least twice as long to get back to the “normal” levels of the above-mentioned health metrics.

So stay as active as you can!


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 1,500 clients, 25 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now-more-than-ever passionate about helping others view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty workout weeks to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Now, Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down”, a healthy mix of strength and metabolix work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength. Adrien believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and our health and that change, or improvement, is always within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help Alexandrians learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness and listening to clients’ success stories and bragging about her twin 12 year old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Fitness on the Run is Fitness for Life. Combining a focus on strong bodies and strong minds with a robust wellness education program and unparalleled personalized attention, we provide fitness for health, longevity and functionality.

Fitness on the Run
210 N Lee St.,
Alexandria, VA 22314

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