How Often Should I Exercise?

Whether you’re new to Every Body Balance or have been attending classes for a while, you might have asked yourself, “How often should I work out?” It depends. Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control, the Mayo Clinic, the American Heart Association, and fitness gurus provide some useful guidelines.

If your goal is to start out and establish a reasonable level of fitness, three to five hours of physical exercise per week (ie workouts, classes or brisk walking or running) tend to produce good results. Beginners should aim for three workouts a week at first, and gradually increase to four to five workouts per week. Its important that you incorporate at least one rest day after every two or three consecutive days of working out.

Its also important to plan your workout schedule to not just do all of one type of activity – try to include aerobic as well as muscle-conditioning activities, and mix it up.  Participating in group classes can be a great way to give you extra motivation.

Here are some basic guidelines:

1) If you’re just starting out or have been going to classes for less than three months, the preferred way to enjoy a healthy workout is to aim for three workouts a week with a day of rest in between. For example, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, or Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Aerobic activity can include brisk walking or running, or choose from one of our many group classes depending on what you prefer. Then, add a relaxing Restorative or Lunchtime yoga class on the in-between days to help your body recover.

People who have just started out sometimes aim for once or twice a week. This frequency is not enough for your body to adapt to new muscle work, so you won’t see physical changes or an improvement in your athletic performance with only one or two classes a week.

2) If you’ve already been going to classes for several months, your body is ready to step up to four or five days a week. But still separate those sessions so that you don’t train too many days without a break. One option can be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday to achieve four sessions a week, or Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for five sessions a week. Try not to work out for more than three days in a row, because you’ll feel sore and become fatigued. With these breaks your body has time to recover, which also helps the muscles to prepare for a new workout.

3) If your goal is to lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. To lose one pound, you need to burn 3,500 calories. So cutting 500 calories a day from your diet will help you lose one pound a week. While diet is key to losing weight, how active you are is key to maintaining weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. Take classes five days a week and you should be able to maintain your weight loss, improve your overall physical health and improve your heart health.

The key is consistency. Make going to classes a part of your daily routine. Fit in a workout in the morning before work, try yoga on your lunch break or take a yoga, Pilates, Barre or spin class and you’ll not only get the most out of your EBB classes, but you’ll also reach and maintain your weight-loss goals. If group classes aren’t your thing, consider a personal training session at a time that’s convenient for you.

4) Aerobic exercise, when combined with a healthy diet, will help you lose weight and keep it off, says the Mayo Clinic. Take a Spin, Boot Camp, Zumba, or Cardio-Core class.  A person who exercises for 60 minutes will burn between 250 and 500 calories, depending on their body mass and the intensity of the workout.

5) Your muscle-strengthening activities should work major muscle groups, which include your legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. TRX, Yoga, Pilates and Barre classes all focus on various elements of muscle-strengthening activities, so its important to mix it up. Situps and pushups are muscle-strengthening exercises where you use your body weight for resistance, and a TRX class is a great body-weight option. The CDC recommends doing at least one set of eight to twelve repetitions of each activity. To increase the health benefits, aim for two or three sets. The American Heart Association echoes this recommendation.

Final Thoughts

How often should you work out? Well, that depends on your goals. To increase muscle strength, aim for five to six times per week. For weight and fat loss, four to five days per week. If you’re aiming for cardiovascular health, three to five days per week.

We look forward to seeing you!