A question I get asked frequently is, “How much exercise should I do?”

That is a very good question and the simplest answer is: it depends. That might not sound too helpful. But the answer to this question is very complicated.

Your fitness and health goals completely define how much exercise is right for you.

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If I were to create an exercise template for every athlete it would take me years to finish.

I think that because you are reading this article it is a safe assumption that you are looking for the right amount of exercise to improve your health. After all if you were a competitive athlete you would need a personal trainer to prescribe a training plan for you.

So I’m going to outline..

What it takes to stay healthy and fit

Now that topic is very controversial and no one agrees on exactly how much is enough, how much is optimal and how much is too much.

But there are guidelines out there that are based on measurements of health improvements.

1. Cardio

For cardio, the average person will begin to experience health benefits after 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week in increments of 10 or more minute sessions.

These benefits continue for up to 300 minutes each week before beginning to plateau. This is fairly easy to obtain.

If you workout for 30 minute sessions 5 days per week you will have obtained the minimum level of cardio to experience health benefits. If you had the time to spend an hour on Monday to Friday you will obtain the maximum level of cardio and achieve maximum health benefits

2. Weight or resistance training

how much exercise to lose weight_2For weight or resistance training you want to train each muscle group 2-4 days per week at a moderate to high intensity, on alternating days.

You should aim for 4-6 exercises per muscle group per session.

Don’t work the same muscle group on two consecutive days. That will exhaust the muscle beyond its ability to repair and grow new sarcomeres.

If you happen to be a big ‘muscle head’ like me you can do resistance training every day if you like, but alternate muscle groups each day. For example do upper body and core on one day then the next do lower body and lower back.

3. Flexibility and mobility

For flexibility and mobility as long as you don’t push yourself too much there is no real limit to how much you can do, but try to incorporate a half hour session at least two days of the week and incorporate a few minutes of mobility in your warm-up and flexibility for your cool down for your other workouts.

If your goal is health you should do more mobility than flexibility.

What’s the difference between flexibility and mobility you ask?

Flexibility is the ability to stretch into a position and hold it – like doing the splits.

Mobility is the ability to get into that same position and move out of it.

For example: if you do the splits and then get up without using your arms – that is mobility. By following these guidelines you are certain to improve your health and fitness!

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