There are many articles today explaining the benefits of exercise, what it can do to enhance and improve your mind, body, and spirit. These articles look at exercise from the perspective of what it can do when you start doing it. But to really see the importance and benefits of exercise, you should learn what can happen when you stop doing it. One expert called the changes shocking.

Naturally, the changes that occur depend on how fit the person is to begin with, because the more fit the person, the faster the deterioration that occurs. There are changes in your level of strength, to your muscles, and to fat levels. Here are some of the changes.

1. Cardiovascular health deteriorates.
One study of people who exercised regularly showed that after four weeks of not exercising, the ability of the body to take in, transport, and use oxygen declined by about 20 percent. When you exercise, the body also produces enzymes that circulate in your blood, and these declined about 50 percent when exercise is discontinued.

With cardiovascular training, you strengthen your heart, slow down your heart rate, and increase your lung capacity. You are able to work harder for a more lengthy time, and you lose all of these benefits when you stop exercising.

2. Blood pressure goes up
Exercise generally lowers blood pressure, so it is no surprise that when you stop exercising, blood pressure will go up.

3. Blood glucose levels increase dramatically.
Not exercising causes blood glucose levels to increase, raising the chances of developing heart disease and diabetes. Blood glucose levels rise without physical activity because muscles cannot absorb the glucose. This can happen in as little as five days without exercise. The result is fat accumulation and a lower metabolism.

4. Muscles atrophy and strength declines.
This consequence of no physical activity should not be surprising. This also affects your speed, agility, mobility, and coordination. Your joint strength also declines.

5. An increase in weight and in the amount of body fat.
Exercise increases metabolic rate, so when you stop exercising, your metabolism slows, and you begin to gain weight.

6. Changes to your brain, affecting your emotional state.
No exercise means less oxygen to the brain, which affects concentration and mood. It can make you more irritable and depressed. Also, without exercise and oxygen, you body cannot hold down the release of chemicals that cause depression, and cannot produce the chemicals that fight depression.

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