We have all heard and know there are benefits from exercise. For starters, exercise is vital for staying fit. Frequent exercise will improve overall wellbeing and lower the risks for diseases that normally come with age.
The benefits of exercise are plentiful –
- It improves blood circulation.
- Your heart becomes stronger and more efficient.
- The lungs become stronger.
- You will get a lower resting heart rate.
- The risk of heart disease is lowered.
- Breathing improves.
- Bones become stronger, especially if you do weight-bearing exercises.
- It improves your mental clarity.
- It reduces depression and anxiety, and increases sleep and relaxation.
- You will lose weight.
- It increases lean body mass.
These are some of the benefits which ultimately lower the risks of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases or stroke, just to name a few.
But how much exercise do we need in a week?
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services guidelines for improving fitness, they recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiorespiratory exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise, or a combination of both exercises per week depending on your level of fitness.
Many people are able to cope with 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, which is good. When you actually break it down into 5 days, 150 minutes divided by 5 equals to about 30 minutes of exercise per day. These 30 minutes can be broken down further into maybe 3 x 10 minutes of activity.
People who are fit can consider doing 75 minutes of intense exercise per week.
Do note that it is not necessary to work out every day when you push yourself to your limit during each work out, or if you do high intensity exercise. Moderate intensity exercise can be done every day. In both cases, it is important that you listen to your body and know when to stop.
An important subject but not touched on much is “rest days”. At least one day of rest is advised when doing a structured work out program 6 days in a week.
For people doing 75 minutes of intense exercise over a week, it is important to schedule rest days in-between, to allow your body adequate recovery time.
Some people feel the need to exercise every day. Working out every day is fine as long as you do not push yourself too hard. Tone down the intensity or make the exercise session shorter, if you must exercise every day.
Exercise should be fun, not something obsessive. Muscles and joints need recovery time before they are used again. And hitting the same muscles daily will only cause premature wear and tear and lead to other injuries.
What is your aim?
If you want to set a personal best time, prep for a marathon, or take part in competitive sports, you can increase the exercise time from 30 minutes to say, 45 minutes. Include some high intensity activities like hiking, plyometric exercises (jumping, skipping rope, clap pushups, etc) to ramp up your sessions.
If you like to do cardiovascular exercises (brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, etc.) or weightlifting, it is recommended that you do take a day off every alternate day to recover. Or you could try to vary your exercises to target different body areas on alternate days, e.g., work on the arms one day, the core the following day, etc.
Are shorter or longer workouts better?
Doctors and trainers recommend daily short workouts, rather than trying to squeeze all the 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise into 1 or 2 sessions.
Daily workouts can lead to fatigue, injuries and even burnout. This might make you stop exercising altogether.
Do consider some safety factors if you work out every day, especially intense exercise:
- Start slow and build up the intensity and duration.
- Cut back on intensity if you feel sore, have muscle pain, cramping or dizziness.
- To avoid falls and injuries, ensure your exercise area is kept clear of unnecessary objects.
- Wear proper exercise attire, correct shoes, and gloves (if needed).
- Always have some form of rehydration on hand – water is the best!
- Listen to your body and stop the exercise if you feel something is not right.
Conclusion: It is possible to exercise every day if you are generally in good health. Readers with health conditions are advised to seek medical clearance from their doctors before exercising. Ask your doctor if you should work out with a personal trainer so as to reduce chances of injury.
13th January 2021 23:00