While it’s important to think about the right types of physical activity to achieve your fitness goals, it’s equally critical to consider how often you do them. This allows for sufficient body recovery, avoids the risk of overexercising and provides a safe, balanced workout for effective results.
Whether you’re working out to lose weight, gain muscle or simply prioritize physical activity, you can use this handy guide to help you determine how often to work out. Learn how many times you should exercise a day, how to build a general fitness routine based on your goals and how to avoid pushing yourself too hard.
We’ll begin by covering some baseline recommendations to keep in mind before working out regularly. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding physical exercise for adults.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults complete 150 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity per week. Another option is completing 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. You can also integrate a mix of moderate-intense and vigorous-intense exercises if desired. However you decide to split this up, you should also try to include two days of muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights, cycling or using resistance bands.
While this may sound like a lot of physical activity in one week, you don’t have to complete it all in one session. For most, one workout a day will suffice. Even if it’s brief, some level of physical activity is much better than none.
If you’d like to achieve more efficient health benefits, you can go beyond 150 minutes a week of moderate-intense exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity if desired. However, we don’t recommend doing this as a beginner — gradually work your way up to this point.
With moderate-intense exercising, your body burns off three to six times as much energy per minute than it would while sitting still. Some examples of moderate-intense physical activities include brisk walking, water aerobics and riding a bicycle on level ground.
A vigorous-intense exercise is characterized by a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of six or seven. Examples of vigorous exercises include running, jogging, swimming and biking.
When deciding how much you should exercise regularly, think about specific workout goals you wish to achieve. Perhaps you’d like to gain muscle, lose weight, improve flexibility, boost endurance or a combination of things. This section provides ideas for exercises based on specific goals you may have and how often you should perform them for the best results.
In addition to your fitness goals, other factors such as diet, age, gender, body type and health conditions can determine how much regular exercise your body requires. When setting your personal workout routine, be sure to consider all of these things and know your body’s limits.
Trying to determine how much exercise you need to lose weight? For healthy weight loss, it’s recommended that you lose no more than one to two pounds per week. To start seeing your desired results on the scale, it’s important that you commit to consistent weekly exercise paired with a nutritious whole food diet.
For efficient weight loss, you should try to work out four or five days a week. However, you don’t have to commit to this schedule right away — build up to it if needed. You may start with only two or three days of exercise each week and work your way up gradually. Regardless of how you decide to approach this, your workouts should aim to include a balance of:
How much should you exercise to gain muscle? If this is your primary fitness goal, there are two main areas to prioritize — cardiovascular exercise and strength training. Finding the proper balance of these is important for building lean muscle. Here are the suggested workout schedules for each:
For cardio, opt for two or three days of cardio each week comprised of quick, high-impact sessions — for example, 25 minutes of high-intensity interval training.
For strength training, try to lift weights at least two or three days a week. Here are the recommended weekly strength training schedules based on training level:
When creating a regular workout routine, it’s important to practice consistent exercise habits to help you stay active and in shape. You want to motivate yourself both physically and mentally. Any successful workout plan largely depends on individual factors and how you hold yourself accountable. Here are some helpful habits to maintain:
While physical activity is vital to your body’s health and wellness, too much exercise can be counterproductive and even dangerous. If you experience pain from working out, give your body a rest. Don’t attempt to exercise through your injury — this will only put more strain on your body and worsen your condition. Allow your body plenty of time to repair itself between workouts.
Overexercising paired with insufficient recovery time can also lead to other symptoms such as:
While working out twice a day isn’t necessarily bad, you can double up on burnout and injury risk if you’re not careful. If you work out twice a day, follow a well-structured program, maintain proper workout form and allow adequate rest periods between sessions as you would with once-a-day workouts.
Are you looking to create the right workout routine to achieve your fitness goals? At 5 Bridges Health & Fitness, we’re committed to helping you build a healthier lifestyle in a supportive, like-minded community of students and instructors. Our personal training offerings accommodate all ages, preferences and workout goals, so you’re sure to find something to help build your ideal workout plan. Browse our membership plans today to find the right one for you!