How often should I work out?

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According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you should accumulate 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity activity every week or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity activity every week or an equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. In other words, strive for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise 5 days per week. This amount of physical activity is necessary to maintain health and prevent chronic disease (e.g. heart disease, diabetes).

How often you workout will be influenced by what your goals are, how much exercise experience you have, and what your present state of health is. Always consult your physician before starting any fitness regime.  The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends cardio activity 20-60 minutes a day, 5-7 days a week. Depending on your goals you will have to adjust the time you spend exercising.

If you are just seeking general fitness 30 minutes per day will do, but if you are trying to lose weight you will need to strive for 60 minutes of aerobic activity 5-7 days per week.

For my clients who also perform resistance training I usually recommend 3 days of resistance training (30-60 minutes depending on goals and capabilities) and 3-5 days of cardio activity (20-60 minutes also depending on goals and capabilities).  Bodybuilding and sports specific clients require different training methods and modalities so if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

How often you workout depends on how intense your workout may be, what level of fitness you are at currently, and your personal goals.

For general fitness, I recommend daily moderate workouts for everyone at every fitness level. A moderate workout could be a brisk 30 minute walk or any type of exercise that moderately accelerates your heart (cardio) rate. 30 minutes is minimum, while an hour is ideal.

Once you are comfortable with moderate cardio workouts, start increasing the intensity two or three days a week. An intense cardio workout should be 20 to 30 minutes. You should be working hard enough to where it becomes difficult to speak a full sentence, but not to where you can't speak at all during the exercise.

In addition to a daily workout that gets the heart pumping, start to add two to four resistance workouts per week. Resistance training is so important for your health in so many ways, from increased bone density to overall strength and control. I recommend meeting with a trainer before beginning a resistance program to ensure correct form, safe use of equipment, injury prevention, and the best results.

Finally, it is important to include balance and flexibility exercises several days per week. Balance training is crucial to maintain stability strength and neuromuscular control; in other words: it helps you keep your balance. Flexibility training is important to lengthen and loosen muscle fibers, to prevent injury and imbalances.

 

The answer to this question truly depends on your fitness level.  I usually like to recommend that people do something every single day.  However, some of those days need to be "light."  For some, they workout so intensely 6 days a week, that I recommend they definitely take the 7th day off to rest.

If you are one of those who wants to workout daily, my recommendation is to do a 4 day split on the weights, and the other 3 days should be cardio.  At least one day of cardio should be more of a leisure activity such as hiking, walking, or an easy bike ride.

You never want to work the same muscle groups two days in a row.  Your muscles require a minimum of 24 to 48 hours of rest in between in order to rebuild after a workout.  Here is one example of a 4 day split for resistence training, with a 6 day workout schedule:

Monday & Thursday:  Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, Light Cardio
Tuesday & Friday:  Back, Biceps & Legs, Light Cardio
Wednesday & Saturday:  Cardio
Sunday:  Rest

The workout I recommend for someone who just wants to get into shape and hasn't become addicted yet is to walk 30 minutes, 3 days a week at a minimum, and include resistance training at least 2 times per week.  Make sure that you have at least 2 leisure days, and not necessarily 2 in a row.  Those leisure days should include a walk or two.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.