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How Many Times Should You Exercise a Day?

How Many Times Should You Exercise a Day?

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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.

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Baseline Recommendations

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.

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1. How Often Should You Exercise?

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.

2. What Is Moderate Exercise?

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.

3. What Is Vigorous Exercise?

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.

Determining Your Exercise Goals

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.

Working out to Lose Weight

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:

  • Strength training by lifting weights
  • Cardio exercises such as cycling, Zumba or Tabata
  • Stretching such as doing yoga or using resistance bands
  • Core exercises such as planks, crunches and leg raises

Working out to Gain Muscle

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:

  • Beginner: Start with two to three days of strength training per week with full-body sessions.
  • Intermediate: Do three to four days of strength training per week, splitting up the workouts by upper and lower body or by muscle groups.
  • Advanced: Do four to five days of strength training per week, splitting up the workouts by upper and lower body.

Building a General Fitness Routine

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:

  1. Work with a personal trainer for supervision, accountability and motivation.
  2. Log your workouts and track your progress with a phone or journal.
  3. Exercise with a friend or enroll in a group fitness class.
  4. In addition to your workout routine, stick to a healthy diet of whole foods such as eggs, leafy greens, salmon, nuts, fruits and whole grains.

How Much Exercise Is Too Much?

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:

  • Muscle soreness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Decreased immune response
  • Low energy
  • Increase in resting heart rate
  • Anxiety or depression

Is It Bad to Work Out Twice a Day?

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.

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Build Your Workout Plan With 5 Bridges Health & Fitness

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!

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