How often should you exercise?

A major question that you need answered more often than not when you start training is how often you should be training. The world is currently in a fragile balance between people into fitness and people who have allowed themselves to become too sedentary.

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A new study suggests that “it is time to consider excessive sitting a serious health hazard, with the potential for ultimately giving consideration to the inclusion of too much sitting (or too few breaks from sitting) in physical activity and health guidelines.” This is because, depending on your job, the workplace has changed and with everyone on computers the entire day, sitting is a real thing affecting posture and health.

So, you’ve decided to train, to combat the ills of sitting, but how often is the right balance?

Well, before anything you need to figure out what your goals are, because it’s not only how often you have to take into consideration, but also what you actually want to achieve. Do you want to build bigger muscles? Do you think you could lose a few extra pounds? Or do you simply want to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Once you know what your goal is, you can proceed.

There’s also a difference between the type of person you are. Many of us don't have enough time to ‘live in the gym’ and normally have demanding jobs, social lives, and other factors at play every single day that can get in the way of regular training.

The fact of the matter is that any training is great for you, and even if you are only able to be a ‘weekend warrior’, doing sufficient amounts of exercise can contribute to significant changes in your body composition and the general feeling you have about yourself.

Another thing is that if you’re just starting out, you’ll find that you’ll need to start slowly and make incremental progress as your body gets more used to training adaptations. There is no need to over-stress your body and giving yourself a break in between days for recovery is a great idea.


Losing Weight

If you want to lose weight, you shouldn’t let your body settle and do a variety of cardio and endurance activities at varying intensities. These can range from outdoor and treadmill running, to spinning classes, rowing, and competing in sporting activities. These should be all done at interval, at varying degrees of difficulties to keep your body guessing and constantly in flux.

But it doesn't only stop there.

mistake that people make when they want to lose weight is not taking into account how important building muscle mass is as well. Simply put, if you have more muscle mass than fat, you’ll be burning more calories every single workout.

But it’s also important to not skip the day after a rest day. Resting completely once a week to recover is fine, but on days when you don't feel motivated to actually go to the gym, you should engage your body in what is known as active rest. Go for a run or do bodyweight exercises like planks and pull-ups so that you maintain a level of exercise.

It is also not all down to training, you need an adequate amount of sleep, and a balanced diet are essential. You aren’t going to lose weight if you aren’t eating and sleeping correctly, especially because this contributes to the majority of how your body adapts and recovers.


Building Muscle

Once you’re in a groove and feel more confident about doing more weights and adding on muscle to your cardio regime, it is recommended you train at least five times a week in sessions of at least 45 minutes.  

Three of those days should focus on strength training, two days should focus on cardio, and two should be active rest.

Most experts explain that weight training should not be done every day because “resistance exercises that stress your muscles actually create small tears in the muscle fibers, and the muscles then need 24-48 hours to heal and repair themselves.”

So this is why you should space them out, while lifting weights that are challenging enough to fatigue your muscles so as to ensure that they grow bigger and stronger. If you’re a beginner, you should take note that doing this at a lower intensity until your body gets used to building muscle is imperative. Failure to do so can result in injury and increased periods of fatigue after exercises called DOMS, which hurts your training and progress.


And You’re Ready To Go

Never over-exert yourself to the point where you’re going to be stuffed the next day and unable to move or train properly. We all want results instantaneously, but the people who see major success are the ones who are patient and move on an upward trajectory towards their goals, rather than doing everything at a high intensity in the beginning, resulting in them only being able to train once or twice a week.

And finally, your pre- and post-workout techniques to keep you limber and ready to train are important so as to ensure that the effects of fatigue are not felt too much. Stretching before and after is important, and will increase the mobility and flexibility of your muscles.

Everyone, no matter what age, can find a rhythm and routine that works for them. The trick is sticking to it and if you’re conscious of your training, eating, and sleeping habits, and strive to achieve your goals, then anything is possible. In the beginning it will be hard, but soon enough it should become second nature.  

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