One of the first questions that people ask when they’re new to their fitness journey is how often should you work out?
The truth is there is no specific answer to this question. It all depends on your goals, your fitness level, and the available time you have to dedicate to exercising.
The best exercise routine for you is one you enjoy and can stick with over the long term. You also can’t follow the workout schedule of a professional athlete if you’re working a 9-5 job. That’s severely unrealistic for the average Jane. Moreover, the length of time you dedicate to your workouts should always depend on whether you want to improve your strength or you want to build your endurance.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this, there are some general guidelines that can help you incorporate exercise into your weekly habits.
Weight training is crucial if you want to build muscle and promote fat loss since it helps with increasing your metabolic rate. It also maintains the functionality of your body over the long term while preventing bone loss and the weakening of your joints.
You can perform resistance workouts that last between 40 to 60 minutes (including proper warm-ups and cool downs) two to three times a week. Focus on compound exercise that target multiple muscle groups like squats, lunges, rows, and chest presses. You can use free weights, resistance bands, or machines in your workout but bodyweight exercises can also be challenging enough for most people.
As you get stronger, be sure to add more weight while decreasing the number of reps you perform. This is called progressive overload and it helps to build your muscles overtime.
When you’re not lifting weights or doing other resistance-type exercises, you can go for a cardio or conditioning routine. This helps keep your circulatory and respiratory system healthy while aiding in recovery.
Activities like running, biking, dancing, swimming, kettlebell swings, and jumping rope can help elevate your heart rate and get you sweating.
Apart from steady-state cardio, you can also do High-Intensity Interval Training. This short burst of intense movement is not only great for getting your heart rate up but also for leveraging the after-burn effect.
Health experts suggest getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
Recovery is just as important as working out. Remember, muscles get stronger when you work out but they grow when you rest. Taking a break helps your body recover and get refreshed so you’ll be ready to take on your next sweat session.
You can schedule your rest days in between workout days. You can do a strength training ay followed by a cardio day. You can set the next day for resting. If you tend to work out from Monday through Friday, you can have the whole weekend off.
However, just because it’s your rest day doesn’t mean you’ll spend the day chilling on the couch. You still need some light physical activity to help ease muscle soreness. Some light walking, stretching, or yoga are great for active recovery days.