1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Stay Fit During Breaks and Holidays

Tips for Staying Fit During Breaks and Holidays


Updated December 02, 2013

Maintain Fitness with Yoga

Maintain Fitness

Christoph Wilhelm / Getty Images
Everyone experiences interruptions in their exercise and workout schedule from time to time. Holidays, weddings, vacations, injury and illness can all force us to take some time off. So how can you keep exercise a priority when your schedule changes? And how little exercise can you get away with and still maintain your fitness?

While there isn't one right answer for everyone, most experts agree that it all depends upon your goals and your current level of fitness. If your main goal is to maintain your fitness level during a few weeks of reduced training, then some moderate exercise for 30 minutes every other day is all you need. If your current level of fitness is high and you want to keep it that way, you will need to adjust your exercise time, type and intensity accordingly.

You start deconditioning (losing fitness) in about two weeks if you stop exercise altogether. Once lost, it takes nearly three times as long to recondition as it took to "detrain."

Maintain Fitness With Short, High Intensity Exercise

If you need to reduce your training time for a couple of weeks, don't worry, you'll get back to your current fitness level pretty quickly when your schedule returns to normal. Just don't stop exercising altogether.

Studies have shown that you can prevent declines in cardiovascular fitness for up to three weeks simply by doing higher intensity exercise (70-75 percent of maximum heart rate) for as little as two days per week.

Top Ways to Maintain Fitness During Breaks

  • At a minimum, perform two high-quality, high-intensity, 30-minute training sessions each week for up to three weeks and you should be able to maintain your fitness level until you can resume your usual program.
  • Add 30-second Sprint Training Session twice a week.
  • Add Interval Training Routines twice a week.
  • Add Any Short, High-Intensity Workouts in order to burn more calories in less time.
  • Use the days when you can't exercise for Rest and Recovery. Keep the high intensity days 2 to 4 days apart for maximum benefit and allows plenty of time for rest, which is essential if you are doing high-intensity workouts.
  • Don't skip exercise for more than about three weeks or you will see an overall decline in fitness that will take some effort to to regain.

How To Maintain Your Exercise Routine During Breaks and Holidays


Mujika I, Padilla S. Cardiorespiratory and metabolic characteristics of detraining in humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Mar;33(3):413-21. Review.

Lemmer, J. T., et al. Age and gender responses to strength training and detraining, Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 32(8):1505-1512, August 2000.

Burgomaster KA, Cermak NM, Phillips SM, Benton CR, Bonen A, Gibala MJ. Divergent response of metabolite transport proteins in human skeletal muscle after sprint interval training and detraining. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Feb 15;

Toraman NF., Short term and long term detraining: is there any difference between young-old and old people? Br J Sports Med. 2005 Aug;39(8):561-4.

Related Video
Prenatal Fitness Activities
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Sports Medicine
  4. Exercises / Workouts
  5. Strength Training
  6. Stay Fit During Breaks and Holidays

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.