PT on the Net Research

Decline in Cardio Fitness and Strength


I have a client who has recently taken a six week break from exercise due to overseas travel. On her arrival home, she had increased weight, body circumference and body fat percentage. We all know that ceasing any exercise program will lead to the above results. What I would like to know is how much inactivity is required before you start to see a decrease in cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength and an increase in body fat percentage circumferences.


This is a very difficult question to answer due to individual factors such as: Was your client on vacation? Did she only eat at restaurants, which are full of hidden calories? Was her stress level higher than normal? How different was her activity level on the trip? What do you mean by muscle strength – absolute or functional? What is your client’s current level of fitness (i.e., a marathon runner will decline much differently than a de-conditioned client)?

Below is a brief review of studies that may assist in answering your question. The information is not exact to any one client. Therefore, please apply with an analytical mind set.



Body Composition:

I hope this helps. The effects of inactivity are reversible with the proper exercise programming. Start back.... but slowly!