According to WHO, the world is facing an obesity crisis. More than 1.9 billion adults are overweight. Of these, more than 650 million are obese.
Especially in the pandemic, we’ve remembered how important it is to take care of our bodies. Both in terms of our diet and our exercise.
Whether you’re inspired by new year resolutions, a summer body, or new fitness goals, exercise is a vital element in keeping you fit and healthy. But you might be left wondering, just how often should you exercise?
That’s exactly what we’re looking at in this article.
It All Depends on Your Goal
How much you exercise depends on what your fitness goal is. For example, someone training for a triathlon has very different exercise needs to someone who wants to lose a couple of pounds!
This said everyone should do some exercise as a bare minimum every week. The CDC recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise a week. They also recommend you fit in at least some kind of muscle-strengthening exercise at least once a week
If you’re not really into exercise, it sounds like a lot. But 150 minutes broken up over a whole week isn’t too much! For example, you could walk for 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, as well as do some push-ups twice a week and that would be your minimum requirement!
This minimum guideline is just that though, a minimum. Alongside a healthy diet, it’s enough to keep most people in good health. But if you’ve set yourself bigger goals than this, you’ll need to exercise more to meet them.
How Often Should You Exercise to Lose Weight?
Anyone who is dieting knows that weight loss is a simple equation of total calories in and total calories burned. What this means is, the more you exercise the faster you’ll lose weight.
This isn’t to say you should hit the gym 24/7 thinking you’ll lose a stone in a week. The best way to lose weight is through a healthy diet combined with a good exercise routine.
For most people, it’s recommended they should aim to lose no more than 2 pounds each week. The best idea if you want personalized advice is to reach out to a personal trainer. They’ll be able to assess your diet and overall fitness to give you great advice on how to reach your fitness goal.
To do this you should exercise between four to five days a week for at least half an hour. This sounds daunting at first, but you can build up to it. Start with a couple of days a week and build up from here.
Before you know it, you’ll be fit enough that four days in the gym doesn’t sound difficult, it sounds like a treat!
It’s also important you have a variety of exercise types in your routine. You should include a good mix of cardio and strength training, as well as stretching.
Cardio exercise helps maintain good heart health, but it’s also great for burning calories. There is a huge range of cardio fitness classes available for you to pick from, so you’re bound to find one you love. This could include dance classes, aerobics classes, spin classes and so many more.
Strength training is an important part of losing weight. When you strength train, you increase your lean muscle mass. This makes your body stronger and look more toned.
How Often Should You Exercise for Muscle Gain?
Muscle gain is a different ball game from weight loss. It’s all about balancing cardio and strength training so you can put on lean muscle. If you don’t get the balance right, either not gain enough or you’ll lose muscle.
Cardio exercise shouldn’t be totally ignored for muscle gain. The ideal amount is between 2 to 3 days a week. In general, you should be looking for short, high-intensity sessions like HIIT classes.
How Often Should You Work Out for Muscle Gain?
When it comes to strength training, you should train at least two days a week minimum, but three days is better.
How you structure those workouts will depend on your current fitness level. For those new to muscle building, you’ll want to target your whole body every day you work out.
For intermediate and advanced fitness levels, it’s more common to dedicate certain sessions to working out one part of the body. For example, leg day, upper body day, and core training day.
Even if you love strength training and want to hit the gym every day of the week, your body needs to rest. Your body will be exhausted and you’ll struggle to maintain an exercise routine long-term if you train every day of the week. As a minimum, you should give yourself two days a week as rest days to let your body recover.
When Should You Exercise?
There’s a lot of debate around when the best time to exercise is. The truth is, there’s little scientific evidence to back that up.
Many gym lovers swear by a 6 am workout, while others prefer to go hard after work. You should look at your own routine and your own body clock to figure out when the best time to exercise will be because it’s different for everyone.
If you know you’re unlikely to want to go after a long day at work, schedule your workouts beforehand. If you know you’re not going to drag yourself out of bed a minute earlier, hit the gym after work. Essentially, whatever works for your schedule that you can stick to is the best time to work out.
Hit the Gym
There is no one size fits all answer to ‘how often should you exercise?’. It all depends on your personal fitness goals and current fitness levels. This said, as a minimum you should try to do a small amount of cardio and strength training every week.
If you’re in the West Houston area, make sure to check out our different locations and fitness classes available.