how many days exercise man with gym bag

How Many Times a Week Should I Exercise?

We hear this question in the studio a lot, and it is an extremely important one. It is a question we hope is being asked as it shows our community is looking to build a lifestyle that promotes greater health and happiness.

But how do we find that optimal level of health in body and mind? When is enough enough, or too little not enough?

The short answer to this question is… it depends.

Every person is unique. Each one of you brings a different set of abilities, skills, goals, likes, dislikes and past experiences that shape your needs.

However, there are some general guidelines we can share with that will help you find the right amount of time to exercises no matter who you are or what state your health is in.

Boost your fitness with cardio sessions

Cardio activity is about raising your pulse and strengthening your heart and lungs. If your goal is to improve your cardio fitness levels, aim for a combination of moderate and vigorous sessions 3-4 times a week, 45-60 min each session.

Moderate activities include brisk walking, swimming, and energetically flowing Pilates and yoga routines. Vigorous activities include running, a demanding dance practice and more intense yoga and Pilates practices that raise the heart rate and get you sweating. Rebounding is a great exercise as it provides a range of levels in terms of cardio intensity; plus it’s incredibly fun!

If finding 3 or 4 sessions a week is too tricky for your busy schedule, just be mindful to engage in some cardio activity throughout your day for at least 30 mins.

Build strength and tone with resistance training

Resistance training means using weights or your body weight to build strength in your muscles and bones. If this is your goal, aim for 2-3 resistance training sessions a week.

Don’t just think of push-ups, lunges and squats – Rebounding sessions, yoga classes and Pilates are perfect practices that greatly improve the strength of your entire body. The strength you acquire from such practices will help you perform better in all other forms of exercise too!

Remember to allow a day to rest in between your resistance sessions. Stretch after your workout and use a foam roller once a week to ensure your muscles and joints remain healthy and pain-free.

Exercise for weight loss

If your goals are orientated towards losing weight, aim for a mix of strength and cardio sessions. Get moving 4-5 times a week, more than 30 mins a day to see results.

Remember, losing weight is about nurturing your body. No matter how much movement you do, healthy weight loss will only occur when a nutritious and balanced diet is adhered to.

The vital component – rest and recovery

All that hard work may go to nothing if you don’t rest and relax right! Your body repairs itself during rest periods. This is where your cells regenerate and make all those strength and fitness gains you’re looking for.

Devote 1 or 2 days to complete rest. On these days focus on supporting your mental health through self-care and physical relaxation with minimal movement.

Don’t make the mistake in believing recovery days requires you to simply laze on the couch. Rejuvenation for the body and brain also occurs through active recovery. These activities include restorative and soothing yoga practices and meditation. These can be done regularly throughout the week, if not every day!

Build your perfect weekly routine

Once you find what works for you, build up a weekly routine that is easy to maintain.

Not sure what your goals are? Just looking to feel good in your body and mind? Start with at least three 45 -60 min sessions a week and mix it up to find a type of exercise routine that suits you – or even just suits the mood you’re in that day!

Do not forget!

Sleep! It is no good doing all the work if your sleep hygiene isn’t rewarding you with deep levels of rest overnight. Sleep is where all the benefits of exercise come to fruition.

As with any health goals, consistency is key. Support yourself with a positive mindset and uplifting and motivating self-talk.  

And lastly, don’t stress. If you can’t fit in one 30 min walk, try three 10 min walks instead. Be flexible with your time, fit exercise into your lifestyle as best you can and if you hit a snag, don’t worry… there is a bright new day tomorrow inviting you to get back on track!