How Often Should You Exercise? Research Explains

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health, but just how much and how often should you be doing it to get maximum benefits? Recent research suggests that it isn’t the amount of time and effort put into a single exercise session, but rather the frequency with which those sessions happen.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is just as important for your health and overall well-being as exercise is. Make sure to get enough sleep (7-9 hours a night) so you’re well-rested and don’t feel the need to cut back your workout time. Research has shown that getting adequate amounts of restful sleep can dramatically improve your performance during workouts and lead to better results.

Do Minimal Exercise a Few Times a Week

Even if you can’t commit to a regimented exercise routine every day, research has shown that doing a minimal amount of exercise a few times a week is still beneficial for your overall health. Aiming for three 30-minute sessions per week can make sure you’re getting enough activity each week to benefit from all the physical and mental health advantages associated with regular exercise.

Increase Your Activity Levels Gradually

If you’re just starting out, it’s best to increase your activity levels gradually. Making too much of an effort all at once can worsen your symptoms instead of making them better and ultimately affect your ability to stay healthy in the long run. Start with two 15-minute walks or two 30-minute sessions and use that as a base to build up your exercise levels over time. Pay attention to how you are feeling so that you can adjust the intensity of each session according to how your body is responding.

Aim for Moderate-Intensity Exercises Three to Four Times Per Week

Studies have shown that adults should aim to do moderate-intensity exercise three to four times a week in order to achieve maximum benefits. Moderate-intensity physical activity is defined as activity that increases your breathing and heart rate, but you should still be able to hold a conversation without losing your breath. Once you reach this level, try increasing the length of each session or the intensity at which you are working out.

Incorporate Flexibility Exercises Into Your Routine

Flexibility exercises should also be incorporated into your exercise routine to ensure that you are using all of your muscles and avoiding injury. Examples of flexibility exercises include yoga, tai chi, and stretching. Incorporating these exercises into your weekly routine can help to improve the range of motion in your joints, lengthen tight muscles, and increase overall mobility.