We all have this friend. You know who I’m talking about. The one who exercises then a lot and talk about it everything time. Every time you tell them about their day, it’s nothing more than, “Oh, I did yoga at sunrise, then I ran five miles and had a smoothie outside. grass and spinach for breakfast before heading out for Zumba. I might go for a jog tonight after Pilates, but that’s it…it’s a rest day after all. This person’s presence makes you acutely aware that you’ve lifted nothing heavier than a glass of wine or walked no farther than from the living room to the kitchen in four days. Is it possible to physically feel weight gain? It sure is like that when you’re here this friend.
So you start thinking to yourself “…well, damn it…maybe I need to practice more.” But the thought of putting in 45, 60 or 90 minutes a day, six days a week can seem overwhelming, impossible and attempting to do so will quickly wear you down, likely leading to three weeks of rebellious inactivity to recover from your brief period. of gym-madness. And then you have lunch with this friend again, and the whole vicious cycle begins again.
So let’s cut to the chase. How much should you actually exercise? How often? What’s a healthy, maintainable routine that will set you up for long-term success instead of quick burnout?
Many factors come into play in answering this question, but before we get into those, let’s start with the golden rule: at least one day a week should be devoted to complete and total rest. No one benefits from exercise seven days a week. Recovery and rest days are where the magic happens and skipping them will wear you down and wear you out.
Depending on your goals, the general population should exercise between three and five times a week. If you’re pushing yourself and really getting the most out of your workout instead of just going through the motions, a 30-40 minute workout should be enough. 40 minutes of intense exercise is far more beneficial than two hours of moderate or easy activity. Exercise takes work. That’s why they’re called workouts.
If your workouts are mostly cardio, try a week that looks like this:
Day 1: 35 minutes
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the evening
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: 45 minutes of cardio
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Rest
Cardio can mean walking, jogging, using an elliptical trainer, taking Zumba classes, swimming laps, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, or many other activities. Make sure to mix things up so your mind and body don’t get bored! Diversity in your workouts is a great way to make sure you stay dedicated to keeping activity and exercise part of your everyday life.
If your workout routine involves a lot of weight lifting, be sure to take the weights off every three or four days. Make it an all cardio day or a full rest day, and never train the same muscle group two days in a row. If you exercise five days a week and do a lot of strength training, your week should look like this:
Day 1: Arms/Abs/Cardio
Day 2: Back/Cardio
Day 3: Cardio (or rest)
Day 4: Legs
Day 5: Shoulders/Abs/Cardio
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Rest
Remember that your health and fitness is not a race. It’s much better to do a little over a long period of time than to go all out and burn out after two weeks.