Since exercise has been a hot and often debated topic for a long time, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there as to how hard and how often we should be working out. Is a ten minute walk a day a helpful guideline? Should we be measuring by weeks, days, or calories burned? There are lots of different schools of thought, but what it really comes down to is what’s best for you, your body and the type of workout you’re attempting. Here are a few different schools of thought, dependent on the type of exercise you’re doing, for you to read over so you can find the right workout guidelines for you.
The general rule of thumb with cardio exercises is to do them no more than five days a week. It’s important to give your body time off to heal and rest, as it’s during these down times that we’re in the best position to determine whether you’ve potentially injured yourself during this time or if you’ve simply pushed your muscles farther than usual. As for duration, with cardio you should try to keep it within the 20 to 60 minute range depending on the intensity of your workout. A brisk walk can be an hour, but a hard run should be on the lower end of that scale.
Even moreso than with cardio, it’s important to make sure you aren’t overdoing it with weight training. Going to the gym to lift weights every day is bad for your muscles as it puts a great deal of stress on them without giving them any time to recuperate. Generally your muscles need a day or two to heal any small tears that may have occurred while stretching them, so it’s a good idea to space specifically targeted muscle training by at least a day. You should be aiming for two or three strength training exercises a week while lifting weights heavy enough to strain your muscles. Beginners should start with one set of 8 to 10 exercises that cover all muscle groups.
There is at least one crucial tip for you no matter what kind of exercise you’re doing, and that’s to take at least one full day off from exercise of any kind. Just because you’re taking a break from weight training doesn’t mean you should be jogging instead. While you can get away with that throughout the week, you need to pick at least one day that’s dedicated to nothing but letting your body rest. For the vast majority of people, in fact, you should lower your work out time to three to five days a week instead of the full six that are technically allowed to let your body rest. Putting that much strain on your body is likely to cause injuries that you’ll have to take time to rest from.