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Is It True That If You Don’t Use It… You Lose It?

The Simple Truth about Atrophy

So for some reason, you had to take a week off your workout regimen. You might be worried that you’ll lose some of your hard-earned gains because you’ve heard the old wives’ tale; “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Well, in the case of muscles and strength, this one is pretty true! There’s a word for what happens when we lose muscle and it’s called muscle atrophy.

Atrophy doesn’t just come from a lack of activity. It may occur from injury, starvation, disease, bed rest, nerve damage, and other health-related issues. The muscles provide strength, endurance in movement, stabilization, as well as protection for your bones and organs. Therefore, atrophy can leave a body at a higher risk of injury; not to mention impede your fitness and body goals.

When atrophy occurs, there is a loss of strength, loss of neuromuscular coordination, a loss of endurance, and an increase in injury risk. Someone suffering from muscle atrophy isn’t just losing size, they will also lose some strength.

How do you avoid wasting away? To stave off atrophy, exercise routines need to be progressive and challenging, but also allow for proper recovery. A solid resistance-strength training program combined with a good diet rich in lean proteins will help muscle growth take place.

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