How Many Days Per Week Should I Work Out? Here's What Science Says

It’s the age-old question:

“How often do I need to get my butt inside of that gym to see results?”

As you’d expect, there is no set universal answer to this question. The amount of time you need to spend exercising will vary drastically based on age, gender, lifestyle, experience, and goals.

Let’s take a look at what science has to say about the amount of time you need to spend being physically active each week.

exercise, minimum, benefits

What’s the Bare Minimum?

According to the Center for Disease Control, the bare minimum that you should be striving for each week is as follows:

Moderate Intensity Physical Activity

  • 150 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes) each week
  • Or 30 minutes for 5 days per week
  • Examples: Walking / Stationary Bike on easy setting

High Intensity Physical Activity

  • 75 minutes (1 hour 30 minutes) per week
  • Or 25 minutes for 3 days per week
  • Examples: High Intensity Interval Training / CrossFit

What You Should Be Doing

Keep in mind that the guidelines above are for the bare minimum. In fact, if you check the CDC website, just below the bare minimum recommendations is another set of guidelines for more physical activity, cited as being better for your health. Those guidelines are as follows:

Moderate Intensity Physical Activity

  • 5 hours (300 minutes) each week
  • Or around 45 minutes each day of the week
  • 2 days should include full body resistance training

High Intensity Physical Activity

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) each week
  • Or 30 minutes for 5 days per week
  • 2 days should include full body resistance training

For the Beginning Lifter

If you are a beginner and you’re not quite sure what to do when it comes to resistance training, listen up. The best thing to do is begin with 2 to 3 days each week using a full body routine. That means activating each major muscle group during a workout session. The best compound movements are as follows:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Pull-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Bench Press
  • Lunges
  • Military Press

For the Advanced Lifter

If you have been performing resistance training for at least 6 months, it may be advantageous to use a split routine. You can work upper body on one day and lower body on the next. Your new schedule may look like this:

  • Monday: Upper body
  • Tuesday: Lower body
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: High Intensity Cardio
  • Friday: Upper body
  • Saturday: Lower body
  • Sunday: Rest

Tell Us What You Think!

How long have you been exercising for?

How many days per week do you get active?

Let us know in the comments below!

exercise, minimum, benefits

 

References

  1. "Physical Activity Basics." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 04 June 2015. Web. 27 May 2017. <https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/>.

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