One Week To Lose It All

Oct 10, 2023


We've all heard it before: "If you don't use it, you lose it." But when it comes to cardiovascular fitness, how quickly can you actually lose it? Today, We might 'feel' that the week away has had a real impact on our fitness, but whats the truth?  Can you lose significant cardiovascular fitness in just one week? Spoiler alert: It's not that simple.

The Myth: Lose a Week, Lose Your Fitness

The common belief is that taking a week off from your regular exercise routine can lead to a significant loss in cardiovascular fitness. But is there any truth to this? Let's dive in.

Cardiovascular Fitness vs. Conditioning: Know the Difference

Firstly, it's crucial to distinguish between cardiovascular fitness and conditioning. Cardiovascular fitness refers to the efficiency with which your heart and lungs supply oxygen to your body during sustained physical activity. Conditioning, on the other hand, is a broader term that includes skills, muscular endurance, and other sport-specific attributes.

While conditioning might see quicker declines with a short break, cardiovascular fitness is generally more resilient to short periods of inactivity.

The Reality: Minimal Loss for Most People

For the average person, a week of inactivity is unlikely to result in a noticeable loss of cardiovascular fitness. Even for highly trained athletes, the decline would likely be minimal and quickly reversible.

Other Factors at Play

If you do notice a drop in performance after a week off, it's probably not due to a loss of cardiovascular fitness. Factors like psychological readiness, muscle stiffness, or even diet can impact your performance more in the short term than a slight dip in aerobic capacity.

The One Message: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

If life gets in the way and you miss a week of exercise, don't panic. Your cardiovascular fitness is likely just fine, and any performance loss you notice is probably due to other factors.


So, can you lose significant cardiovascular fitness in just one week? The evidence suggests not. While it's essential to maintain a consistent exercise routine for overall health and well-being, missing a week is unlikely to set you back as much as you might think.