PFTL News November 2019

(from WebMD Sept 2019)

You’ve probably heard
to watch the amount of salt you eat, especially if you’re concerned about your
blood pressure. That’s because it makes your body hold on to water, putting
extra stress on your heart and blood vessels. Salt — and worry, and anger —
aren’t the only things that can raise your blood pressure. Although temporary
“spikes” aren’t necessarily a problem, numbers that remain high over
time can cause serious damage.

Added SugarIt may be even more important
than salt in raising your blood pressure, especially in a processed form like
high-fructose corn syrup. People with more added sugars in their diet see a
significant rise in both their upper and lower numbers. Just one 24-ounce soft
drink causes an average 15-point bump in systolic pressure (the top number, or
the pressure during a heartbeat) and 9 in diastolic (the bottom number, or the
pressure between beats).

Loneliness  – This isn’t just about the number of friends you have — it’s about
feeling connected. And being stressed or depressed doesn’t fully explain the
effect. It also gets worse with time: Over 4 years, the upper blood pressure of
the loneliest people in a study went up more than 14 points. The researchers
think an ongoing fear of rejection and disappointment and feeling more alert
about your safety and security may change how your body works.

Sleep ApneaPeople with sleep apnea have
higher odds of getting high blood pressure and other heart problems. When your
breathing is repeatedly interrupted while you’re sleeping, your nervous system
releases chemicals that raise your blood pressure. Plus, you’re getting less
oxygen, which could damage blood vessel walls and make it harder for your body
to regulate your blood pressure down the road.

Not Enough PotassiumYour kidneys need a balance of
sodium and potassium to keep the right amount of fluid in your blood. So even
if you’re eating a low-salt diet, you could still have higher blood pressure if
you’re not also eating enough fruits, veggies, beans, low-fat dairy, or fish.
While you may think of bananas as the go-to source, broccoli, water chestnuts,
spinach, and other leafy greens are better to get potassium if you’re watching
your weight.

PainSudden, or acute, pain ramps up
your nervous system and raises your blood pressure. You can see this effect
when you put one hand in ice water, press on your cheek or fingernail, or get
an electric shock to your finger.

Herbal SupplementsDo you take ginkgo, ginseng,
guarana, ephedra, bitter orange, or St. John’s wort? These and others can raise
your blood pressure or change how medications work, including drugs to control
high blood pressure.

Thyroid ProblemsWhen this gland doesn’t make
enough thyroid hormone, your heart rate slows, and your arteries get less
stretchy. Low hormone levels also might raise your LDL “bad”
cholesterol, another thing that can stiffen arteries. Blood moves through hard
vessels faster, pushing on the walls and raising the pressure. Though not as
common, too much thyroid hormone can make your heart beat harder and faster,
which will also bump up your numbers.

You Have to PeeSystolic pressure went up an
average of about 4 points, and diastolic, 3 points, in a study of middle-aged
women who hadn’t gone to the bathroom for at least 3 hours. Men and women of
different ages saw similar effects. High blood pressure becomes more likely as
you age, so you need to get accurate readings. An empty bladder could be one
way to help do that.

NSAIDsAll nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can raise your numbers
— whether you’re healthy or you already have high blood pressure. Though the
average rise is only a few points, there’s a wide range, which means it could
affect some people much more than others.

Your Doctor’s OfficeYou might see a difference if you
compare readings during an appointment to the numbers you get at home. Named
for the traditional garb of medical professionals, the “white coat
effect” is the rise in blood pressure — up to 10 points higher for
systolic (the upper number) and 5 for diastolic (the lower number). DM note –
It is wise to question advice about taking meds based solely on the readings in
the doctor’s office.

DecongestantsIngredients like pseudoephedrine
and phenylephrine can narrow your blood vessels. That means the same amount of
blood has to squeeze through a smaller space, like a crowd pushing through a
hallway. These drugs can also make blood pressure medications less effective.
Your doctor or pharmacist can help you choose over-the-counter products for
sinus problems and colds that are safer if you have high blood pressure.

DehydrationWhen your body’s cells don’t have
enough water, your blood vessels tighten up. This happens because your brain
sends a signal to your pituitary gland to release a chemical that shrinks them.
And your kidneys make less pee, to hang on to the fluid you do have, which also
triggers tiny blood vessels in your heart and brain to squeeze more.

Hormonal Birth
Pills, injections, and other
birth control devices use hormones that narrow blood vessels, so it’s possible
your blood pressure will go up. It’s more likely to be a problem for women who
are older than 35, overweight, or smokers. You may want to keep an eye on your
blood pressure, checking every 6-12 months. A lower dose of estrogen may keep
your numbers closer to normal.

TalkingIt happens whether you’re young
or old and no matter where you are. The higher your resting blood pressure, the
higher the numbers go when you start speaking. And the effect lasts for a few
minutes. It seems the subject and emotional content of what you’re saying
matters more than the fact that you’re moving your mouth.

Antidepressants – Medicines that target brain chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin — including venlafaxine (Effexor), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), tricyclic antidepressants, and fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) — can change not only your mood but also your blood pressure. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) might raise it if you’re also taking lithium or other drugs that affect serotonin.

Have a great Thanksgving holiday!

PFTL News January 2019



With so many Americans concerned about the cost of health care, this exercise can positively impact eight out of the 10 most costly health conditions in the U.S. (Heart disease, cancer, COPD, asthma, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis and back problems.)

This exercise will also improve your mood, boost endorphins, reduce fatigue and lower your stress hormones as well.

What’s more, this exercise is absolutely free and you don’t need a lot of time: Only 15-40 minutes a day five days a week will tone and trim your body, vastly improve your health and could even save your life.

Some of you have probably guessed that I’m talking about WALKING!

How Americans Compare to Other Nations – In a study published in October 2010 in the journal “Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,” researchers used pedometers to track the steps of 1,136 American adults. They found that people living in the U.S. take fewer steps than adults in Australia, Switzerland and Japan.

  • Australians averaged 9,695 steps a day.
  • Swiss averaged 9,650, steps a day.
  • Japanese averaged 7,168 steps a day.
  • Americans averaged just 5,117 steps a day.

According to the CDC, 36 percent of Americans are obese, while a 2010 Reuters article states that “During the past decade Australia, Japan and Switzerland have reported obesity rates of 16 percent, 3 percent and 8 percent, respectively.”

And it’s not just lower obesity rates; it’s longer life expectancy as well. As A 2013 CNN article reported, 2011 data shows that 27 countries (including those daily walkers in Australia, Switzerland and Japan!) have higher life expectancies at birth than the United States.

Here Are 19 of the Proven Health Benefits Walking

  • It increases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and reduces the stress hormone cortisol, helping you feel less anxious or sad.
  • Can lead to a longer life. Research by the University of Michigan Medical School and the Veterans Administration Ann Arbor Healthcare System says those who exercise regularly in their fifties and sixties are 35 percent less likely to die over the next eight years than their non-walking counterparts.
  • Decreases knee pain and stiffness by keeping joints lubricated.
  • Lowers the risk of fractures. A Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, study of post-menopausal women found that 30 minutes of walking each day reduced their risk of hip fractures by 40 percent.
  • Reduces women’s risk of stroke by 20 percent when they walk 30 minutes a day – by 40 percent when they step up the pace — according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
  • Boosts endorphins, lowering stress, fatigue and anger in 10 minutes and lowers blood pressure by five points.
  • Reduces glaucoma risk by reducing the pressure inside the eye, which lowers your chance of developing glaucoma, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
  • May cut Alzheimer’s disease risk by 50 percent over five years, and for women, reduce colon cancer risk by 31 percent.
  • Decreases the odds of catching a cold by 30-50 percent.
  • Tones ab muscles, builds bone mass and reduces risk of osteoporosis and reduces low back pain by 40 percent.
  • 54 percent lower risk of heart attack with two to four hours of fast walking per week.
  • 30-40 percent less risk of coronary heart disease with three hours of brisk walking per week.
  • 54 percent lower death rates for type 2 diabetics who walk three to four hours per week.
  • Helps prevent and manage arthritis.
  • Decreases body weight, BMI, body fat percentage and waist circumference and increases muscle endurance.
  • Increases HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
  • Significantly reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Increases heart and respiratory fitness in adults with type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduces physical symptoms of anxiety associated with minor stress.
  • Improves sleep quality and is associated with better cognitive performance.
  • Increases the size of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, potentially beneficial for memory. (Check out the study on this one.)



PFTL News April 2017

NEW CORE CLASSES –  First class is Free

Senior Trainer, Annette Loquercio,  MS, certified Structural Integration Practitioner, will be offering a new class focusing on Core Basics for beginners and Creative Core for intermediate level clients.  Both 7-week sessions will begin Tuesday, April 11.

Core Basics (beginner level) – 1:30pm to 2:30pm.  This class will include diaphragmatic breathing, self-myofascial release, stretching, and beginning core exercises. This will be a great class for those who don’t exercise regularly or for those returning to exercise after a long absence.

Creative Core (intermediate level) – 2:30pm to 3:30pm.  This class will focus on challenging core exercises to include resistance, balance, and some plyometric modalities.  This is not a beginner class.

The first introductory class meetings are free, and we can accommodate up to 7 people.  The subsequent 6-week sessions will be $100, and limited to a maximum of 5 participants.




Taught by Annette Loquercio and Helane Hurwith

We are offering a special class the day before Mother’s Day, on Saturday, May 13, for Moms  and others to workout with a partner.  Participants (age 15 and older) will be shown exercises that are fun and challenging, and specifically designed for two people to do together, This could be an interesting way to spend time with mom (or a friend) and get a good workout in the process.  Two times are offered:  12noon and 2pm.  No set cost – pay whatever you want. Limited to 8 participants.  Call to register 847-251-6834 or email [email protected]



Gut microbiota has been a hot topic recently, and for good reason, as it is a key indicator of health. Gut microbiota contains trillions of micro-organisms, including at least 1,000 species of known bacteria, with more than 3 million genes. There are many benefits to having a healthy gut, including but not limited to:

  • protection against metabolic disorders
  • production of some vitamins (B and K); and
  • immune system support.

Researchers have discovered a link between exercise and the bacterial composition of the gut. Initial evidence suggests that exercise can alter the bacterial composition of the digestive system.  Diversity may be the key. The study found that athletes showed greater diversity in gut microbiota than control subjects. The athletes (rugby players) also had higher proportions of most types of micro-organisms. One particular bacterium, called  Akkermansiaceae, found in greater amounts in the rugby players, has been linked to lower risk of obesity and of systemic inflammation. Diet is still important, but could exercise be a legitimate ally in digestive health?

Researcher, Charlie Hoolihan, says that gut microbiota profiles, like DNA markers for exercise and nutrition, “represent a fascinating potential for individualization of diet, fitness routines and even medical prescriptions.” However, he suggests fitness professionals take the results in stride, saying the research points out something we already know: Exercise is beneficial to your digestive process. “Now we have some hints about exercise’s possible stimulus,” he says. “These are just hints. My guess is that gut microbiota may be as complex as DNA and that attempts to make conclusions from the research for mainstream individualization may be a bit preliminary.”



Studio clients will probably notice something new by the front desk.  We have installed a security camera so we can monitor who comes to the studio after hours.  We want to ensure that only known clients are using the facility. Although no problem has been reported to date, we thought it would be prudent to be able to monitor entry.



Lisa Wolf is offering a Zumba class every Tuesday from 9:15am to 10:15am at the Music Theater Works (formerly Light Opera Works) rehearsal room which is right behind our studio at 516 4th Street.  Contact Lisa at [email protected] or 847-542-4788 for class schedule and information. Join the Fun!


Shelf-life of Olive Oil  A delicious and sometimes pricey cornerstone to healthy Mediterranean-style diets, olive oil is delicate stuff and can only be fully enjoyed when stored properly.

  1. Check the harvest date printed on the label when you purchase your oil. Some producers even cite an expiration date. Typically, olive oil is good for about 18 months from harvest (depending on how it’s been stored). After a year on your shelf unopened (3 months opened), olive oil—basically a fresh fruit juice—will go rancid.
  1. Keep it in a dark, cool cupboard. Light and heat can hasten the breakdown of the oil and taint the flavor. Storing it on the countertop near the stove or in the cabinet above the range may be convenient, but it can corrupt the health of the oil.

Debora’s Note:  The extra virgin olive oil at Old Town Oil on Central St. in Evanston is superb. Pricey, but worth it. Try the Tuscan Herb for vegetables, eggs and salad.

Spring is coming!  Get ready to walk and bike.  Learn a new sport – tennis, golf, inline skating, sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking.  Find a way to be more active and enjoy the season change.

PFTL News February 2017

DROP UNWANTED POUNDS  (Excerpt from Rod Connolly, Exercise Physiologist, Edwards, CO)

“I’m going to eat better and drop some unwanted pounds.” On average, this New Year’s resolution lasts fewer than two weeks. Most of us know the usual remedies for losing body fat, specifically, “exercise more, eat less”.  But there are lesser-known things that could be hurting your attempts to lose unwanted pounds, even though you are “moving more and eating less”.

  1.  Your current diet has created “bad” gut bacteria – Cravings aren’t all in your head, but are caused, in part, by what’s going on in your gut.  Your diet creates an environment for gut bacteria, both good and bad.  Researchers call it a gut bacterial ecosystem.

The problem is, when you try to improve your diet, your “bad” gut bacteria will demand to be fed, making you crave whatever will feed it. Metabolically unfavorable (bad) gut bacteria can cause cravings for the junk food that created them and will nourish them. They can also cause you to feel uneasy, anxious and unhappy when they’re deprived of their nourishment. It’s almost like a parasite and host; the gut bacteria will continue to thrive if you give them what they demand, making you feel physically deprived when you stop consuming their favorite foods.

The good news is that you can break the bad gut bacteria’s control fairly quickly by not giving in.  When you deprive these “bad” bacteria of nourishment, the bacterial population reduces, and you become metabolically healthier; you start feeling better and have increased energy.

What can you do?  – Change your gut’s ecosystem.  Want to crave healthy foods? Then consistently consume them.  Feed the “good” gut bacteria and starve the “bad” bacteria.  You will feel deprived at first (count on it), but you can survive without junk food; the bacteria that feed off it cannot. Eventually you will lose your craving for low-nutrition, un healthy foods.

2.  You’re battling your brain – Some cravings are, however, in your head. Our desire to eat a balanced diet is reduced when we eat high sugar, low satiety or foods that promote excessive weight gain (junk food). This has a massive impact on your brain’s reward centers, driving you to eat more of these foods and actually decreasing your appetite for nutritious food. Regularly eating junk food will make all other food less appealing.  (You’ll also be feeding the bad gut bacteria mentioned earlier.)

The more junk food you eat, the less rewarding it becomes to the area of your brain that measures reward and pleasure.  You’ll have to consume more to get the same pleasure response.

What can you do? – Know your triggers.  If eating one potato chip triggers consumption of half a bag, then eat an apple instead.  You know what satisfies hunger and what sets you up for over-indulging.

Junk food is only tempting to two kinds of people: those who regularly eat it and those who’ve just begun to avoid it.  People who have gone without junk food for a long time usually do not crave it.  It actually looks awful to them.

IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO LOSE POUNDS BY EXERCISE ALONE –  Researchers have found that exercise without changes in diet will usually not result in significant body fat loss. A combination of a healthy diet and a well-rounded exercise regimen is key for maintaining an adequate level of fitness, but when it comes to dropping pounds, what you put in your body is more important than how you move it.

While exercise is crucial for leading a healthy life, exclusively, it doesn’t often promote weight loss. A 2015 study found that calorie control is more successful, especially because exercise increases appetite in many people. Additional research also found that working out burns more calories initially, but the burn decreases as the body adjusts for stability.

Nevertheless, combining a healthy diet and moderate exercise is your very best bet for getting the most out of life. Don’t forget that physical activity can reduce risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes and can boost your mood and help you sleep better.

Remember your Sweetheart or Best Friend on Valentine’s Day, February 14th

PFTL News September 2016


Sure, your breath may remind you about the garlic you ate at lunch. But that’s not all your mouth can tell you: Problems with your gums, teeth, and tongue can hint at health concerns deeper in the body, says Betty Haberkamp, DDS, a dentist at the Cleveland Clinic. Here are four oral signs you should see your doctor or your dentist.

If you suddenly have a bunch of cavities – It might mean: Diabetes

Assuming you’re not hooked on soda or taking any new medications, the tooth decay could be a sign that your body is having trouble processing glucose. When that happens, the sugar can build up in saliva and spur the growth of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. You might also feel some tooth pain, especially after eating something sweet, hot, or cold.

If your teeth are “wearing away – It might mean: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Heartburn can happen to anyone. But if you’re experiencing it more than twice a week for a few weeks in a row, you may have GERD, a condition in which stomach acids leaks into the esophagus. While some people experience a “burning” sensation in their chest or throat, others don’t experience any symptoms at all.

When stomach acid reaches the mouth, it can wear away the enamel on your teeth. “Erosion from GERD is typically on the tongue side of the teeth,” says Haberkamp.  “A person may not notice this, since it may occur slowly, but a dentist would notice on a periodic exam

If your gums bleed when you brush – It might mean: Gingivitis

Unless you just started flossing your teeth or you’re brushing too hard, blood in the sink may indicate inflammation of your gum tissue caused by plaque buildup along the gum line. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious periodontitis, in which the gums recede from the teeth and form pockets that get infected.



You may not realize the vital role potassium plays in the body. Potassium aids in muscle contraction, fluid regulation, and mineral balance. What’s more, potassium blunts the effects of excessive sodium consumption—a problem most Americans have. The average U.S. adult takes in 3,400 milligrams of salt per day, nearly 50% more than the recommended upper limit of 2,300 milligrams. A potassium-rich diet helps the body flush out sodium. It also helps relax blood vessel walls and, in turn, lower blood pressure.

Increasing your potassium intake while reducing your sodium intake can slash your stroke risk by 21%, and may also lower your odds of  heart disease.

Upping your intake of whole fruits and vegetables will help you hit the expert-recommended 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day. You should also check in with your doctor if you suspect you need more potassium. Here are the biggest signs you’re running low:

You’re always tired – If you can’t seem to rest enough and your energy levels are low, you may be potassium deficient, says Blake. “Every cell in your body needs the right amount of potassium to function,” she explains. “If you are increasingly exhausted and know you are getting enough sleep, potassium might be the cause.” (That said, other issues with your diet, stress, or sleep deprivation can also leave you feeling chronically sluggish, so you shouldn’t assume a potassium deficiency is the culprit.)

You have muscle weakness or cramping – Potassium plays a key role in smooth muscle contraction, both in the heart and across the entire body. So when levels are low, you might experience “aches and spasms” throughout the day or while exercising, says Blake.

You feel faint, dizzy, or tingly – Potassium can wax and wane throughout the day, and a large drop can slow your heartbeat, making you feel like you’re going to pass out. “This is not common, and many other factors can be the cause, but it’s important to see your doctor if you experience this,” Blake says. Tingling arms or legs is another signal you shouldn’t ignore.

You have high blood pressure or palpitations – Without enough potassium, blood vessel walls can become constricted, which results in hypertension, says Blake. Also watch out for heart palpitations; the heart muscle has more difficulty pumping when the sodium-potassium balance is out of whack.

You’re bloated all the time – When you’re low on potassium, your body struggles to regulate its sodium levels, and can cause salt-induced bloating.



Many people don’t realize they’re having a stroke when it happens to them, says research from the University of Oxford. The new study highlights the importance of getting to the hospital quickly after a stroke, and points out an important symptom—vision loss—that’s often overlooked in public health campaigns.

Stroke Symptoms:  The FAST acronym—which stands for Face, Arm, Speech, Time—has been touted by experts as a way to remember important symptoms of stroke and the response that should be taken. According to the American Stroke Association, symptoms of stroke include face drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulties. And because time is of the essence, anyone with symptoms should get to a hospital right away.

In a British study of people who had had a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke, the authors noted that nearly a third of participants reported a reduction or loss of vision during their episodes—something that’s not always considered an obvious sign of stroke. For about 20 percent of participants, in fact, vision problems were the only symptom. Of that group, not a single person was aware they were having a stroke.

Vision symptoms should be included in patient education and efforts to raise awareness about stroke symptoms and rapid action may be more appropriate; hence the acronym FASTER (Face, Arm, Speech, Time, Eyes, React) may be better.

PFTL News January 2016

MAKE 2016 THE YEAR THAT_???????????_

Fill in the blank with something that is realistically attainable, and can be sustained.  Here are some ideas –

“I will do something active every day”, “I will drink responsibly”, “I will cut down on sugar”, “I will  say something nice to my family every day”, “I will listen more, and talk less”, “ I will be less critical of others.”

Words of wisdom to help inspire you  (excerpt from –

A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing

Stop comparing yourself to others and start improving yourself

Falling down is an accident. Staying down is a choice.

It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop

It is never too late to be who you might have been


It happens to the best of us: You get injured, find yourself working around the clock or are otherwise forced to put exercise on the back burner for a while.  And when the holidays roll around, you’re also provided an incentive to eat and drink and skip your workouts until January. But a day or two can easily stretch into weeks or even months and you’re right back to square one.  In technical terms, you’ve become “deconditioned.”  In fact, 25 to 35 percent of adult exercises quit working out within two to five months of starting, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). How quickly your fitness level declines depends on several factors; some may surprise you.

1. Cardiovascular Fitness Starts to Tank After One Week – Aerobic fitness is defined as the ability of the body to transport and utilize oxygen from your blood in your muscles. This measure, also known as VO2 max, decreases after as few as one to two weeks of inactivity. The functional capacity of the heart also decreases. After three to four weeks of bed rest, your resting heart rate increases by four to 15 beats, and blood volume decreases by five percent in 24 hours and 20 percent in two weeks.

2. You Lose Cardiovascular Fitness More Slowly If You’re a Seasoned Exerciser – If you’re new to fitness and recently started working out (less than six months), you’ll lose fitness faster than someone who’s been exercising a year or longer.   For example, you take two people: one who’s exercised regularly for two years and the other for only two months. If both stop working out, they will both lose all their gains quickly — by about six weeks. But the well-trained athlete will lose about 40 percent and then plateau.

3. Flexibility Loss Occurs Quickly – You lose the benefits of flexibility quickly if you take any substantial time off from stretching.  Loss of flexibility can occur in as few as three days, with more pronounced changes occurring at the two-week mark. Stretching should be done at least three times a week — if not daily.

4. Strength Starts to Diminish After Two Weeks – When you quit strength training, changes in your muscles begin to occur within days. Muscle, when not receiving its regular challenge, will start to lose protein, which is absorbed into your circulation and excreted via urination. Small but meaningful loss in muscle protein (the building block of the contractile units for each muscle fiber) can begin to occur in 72 hours.  Noticeable changes when attempting to lift your usual amount of weight show up in two to three weeks.  Long-term exercisers, as with cardio, will see a slower muscle loss than those new to exercise.

5. You Lose Power Faster Than You Lose Strength – Power, defined as strength times distance over a period of time (e.g., how quickly you can hoist a weight or dash across the street to make the light), fades faster than strength.  Strength losses first occur due to a change in the nerve’s impulses to muscle fibers, shortly followed by actual muscle wasting.  During muscle wasting, protein breaks down at a faster rate and protein synthesis (building) drops.

6. Fitness Levels Decline Faster When You’re Sick – Someone who’s healthy and takes a break from exercise loses muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness more slowly than a person who stops exercising due to an illness or injury. The latter will lose fitness levels twice as fast. The stress of an illness or injury takes a greater toll on the body than simply taking a break when you’re healthy. Whether you’re an athlete or recreational exerciser, if you’ve taken a few weeks off from your routine, your level of deconditioning will be pretty low. If you are recovering from a fracture, surgery or have been on bed rest, it can take up to and longer than 12 to 24 months to fully recover.

7. Maintenance Is Easier Than You Think – If you’re planning to take time off from your workout routine, keep in mind that staying in shape isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. In fact, you can maintain your fitness levels in a surprisingly small amount of time. In order to maintain both aerobic and strength levels, you need just 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) twice a week.  The work effort, however, must be truly high-intensity, at between 80 and 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.

8. Aging Affects Fitness Loss – You lose strength and overall fitness twice as quickly as you age.  As we age, we have lower levels of human growth hormone (HGH), which makes it harder to recover.  We also lose our ability to handle stress and recover from the resulting stress hormones, such as cortisol. As we get older, this same mechanism results in greater fatigue after a workout. Older athletes take longer to recover from workouts in general, according to several studies, including a 2008 article published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity.

9. It Takes Three Weeks to Gain Back One Week Off – After a period of lying around, your nervous system loses its ability to fire up as it did before you took time off.  That’s due to the fact that you lose the neural stimuli that enables you to lift heavy objects with the same amount of effort. When you return to lifting, you may be able to lift the same weights, but you will be working above your normal capacity, which could put tissue at risk. It will take a greater effort to do what you used to do and will require more rest between sets and days in order to recover. A novice who’s taken time off during the holidays will need to start from scratch. The athlete or experienced lifter can start back to where they were in early November and give it a month to get back to speed.