How Often Should I Exercise?

Exercise frequency is one of the most import important factors in determining how quickly you will progress and reach your goals.  Ultimately the more you exercise the greater your results. This is why many Olympic level athletes will do 18-24 training sessions per week. This does not mean you have to give up everything else in your life and exercise full time to see the results that you want to see, nor would that be appropriate. The number of exercise session per you that you need  depends on your current fitness level, exercise history, goals, and availability.

Fitness Level and History

If you have never been involved in an exercise program, start with 2-3 days per week. Even if you have more time to exercise your body is not yet ready to handle that much work. The ability to recover between exercise sessions is something that develops over time as your fitness improves.  Using too high an exercise frequency too soon can lead to overuse injuries and chronic aches and pains.  After a few weeks at 2-3 times per week, if you feel that you can handle more work and still want to do more work, increase to four session s per week for a month or two.

If you have been involved in an exercise program but are not currently exercising and your fitness is not quite what it used to be start with three sessions per week and gradually build up your frequency. Jumping back into what you used to do is a good way to hurt yourself. Give your body a chance to readapt to an exercise program.

If you are fit and currently exercising then the sky is the limit on how often you can work out, you are only limited by the amount of time that you have available. That being sais, we recommend that everyone has at least one day per week off for full recovery and regeneration.

Goals

Your goals play a big role in how often you need to exercise.  It is important to try and match your exercise frequency to your goals. Although It is unlikely that you will win the Boston Marathon exercising two times per week but you might be able to run a 10k race.  If your goal is to improve your health and fitness then 2-3 sessions per week will get you well on your way. If you want to lose weight three or more sessions per week is necessary. If you want to prepare for a specific activity or sport then it will normally require at least three exercise sessions in addition to sport specific training sessions.

Availability

The amount f time that you have available has the biggest impact on exercise frequency. Balancing family life, work, and other responsibilities can be time consuming.  For those of you with very busy schedules 15-20 sessions per week might be your best option. This may sound crazy but there is a growing body of research that shows that for improving health and wellness many short 10-15 minute sessions in a week can add up to the same thing as fewer longer exercise sessions. On days that your schedule does not permit a structured exercise routine you can still get the same benefits by going for 3-4 short walks or perform a few minutes of body weight exercise in the office. In fact this approach is actually better than only doing one longer exercise session per week.

Conclusion

Many factors go into determining how often you should be exercising. Regardless of how often you exercise the most important thing is that you are doing some form of activity on a regular basis.


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