How much exercise you need is dependent on your overall goals for your health and your individual lifestyle. Your needs will very depending on whether you’re you trying to reduce your risk of preventable diseases, ant to build up strength or are trying to lose weight.
The following unpacks how much you should be exercising in relation to your individual goal.
The department of health recommends the average adult partake in a combination of moderate aerobic activity and muscle strengthening activities to improve basic health for at least 2.5-5 hours per week. A brisk walk for 30 minutes a day and some weight training twice a week will improve energy levels and reduce the risk of developing heart disease by 40 percent. You don’t necessarily have to walk, what is important is ensuring there is an increase in breathing and heart rate and you’re working the majority of your muscles.
If you’re low on spare time, short 10 minute bursts of activity at least 3 times a day will have the same result. Whether it be a vigorous clean of the kitchen, or walking to the train for your morning commute, reducing the time you spend sitting or being sedentary will help improve your health.
If weight loss is an important goal high intensity exercise is the way to go. It may still only be for the 2.5-5 hours a week, but the intensity of the exercise must increase. Instead of a walk, go for a jog. Where you may only swim 200m, swim 1km. Add in body weight exercises or a small cardio circuit to ensure your heart rate it rising and you’re involving as many muscle groups as possible.
If building strength and muscle is your goal, the frequency of training is more important than the length of time you spend training. It’s recommended you train each muscle group at least twice per week to get the most out of your exercise routine. This will mean picking a different group or multiple groups of muscles for a different day of the week, to coincide with a light cardio warm-up.
With strength training there is a higher risk of injury. To ensure you are using the equipment correctly and have the appropriate form, try a session with a personal trainer or experienced friend before conducting any sessions alone.
If you don’t have time to head to the gym, look at our tips on how to set up a home gym you’ll actually use.