Exercise frequency is high on every person’s list who wants to further his or her state of fitness. Everyone’s ideal is a frequency that is neither too easy (progress comes slowly) nor too intense (the body is pushed beyond its limits). For the average, serious exercise enthusiast, I have all the advice you need to know below, but anyone with aspirations to win the Boston Marathon should exercise with a trainer. But anyone who wants to lead a healthier, lasting lifestyle should check out this Fit for Life class that focuses on the science of exercise and how to make exercise a permanent addition to your life.
The Old Adage
The old adage, which still rings pretty true, is, “Exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week.” If you do that, your health will improve, no doubt about it. The problem with the old adage is that it doesn’t specify exercise type, intensity, which days of the week, progression, rest, etc. When you add all these variables to the equation, “30 minutes a day, five days a week” doesn’t sound as cut-and-dry as it used to.
New Studies And What To Make Of Them
In the past few years, the consensus on how frequently to exercise has shifted. Focus used to weigh heavily on days-of-the-week exercised. In other words, emphasis used to be placed on how many days a week you exercised instead of the total amount of time spent exercising. It was thought that exercising two days for thirty minutes each was better than exercising one day for, say, two hours.
New details, well documented in this Women’s Health Magazine article, show that you might be better off working harder and longer a few days a week instead of shorter and easier five to six days a week. The new consensus is that the more minutes you spend working out every week, the better (up until a reasonable point, of course). Naturally, you wouldn’t want to cram ten hours of exercise into one day, but if you have more time one day to add an extra hour of exercise, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity and log the minutes while you can.
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The debate over how much body builders should workout will never end, but almost everyone can agree on the effectiveness of the split workout routine. It is simply the best, most intense and safest way to challenge and exhaust a core group of muscles.
If you want to build muscle, the split-routine is the way to go. A classic split-routine follows the following schedule:
Mondays And Thursdays: Workout muscle groups that work together, that’s the key behind split-routines. So on Mondays and Thursdays, focus on your chest, triceps, abdomen and your lower body (although do not do either your quads or hamstrings, as those work opposite motions and one should be saved for Tuesdays and Fridays).
Tuesdays And Fridays: Now work your other muscles: biceps, back, the remainder of your lower body, etc.
This routine gives your body three full days of rest, which is crucial, but to take full advantage of it you need to exhaust your muscles. This means working out intensely for roughly 45 minutes to 1 hour during each session. If you want more great advice on how to bulk up and add muscle instead of fat, read this blog post on 10 tips on how to get big fast.
Anyone looking to burn fat or boost their cardio should try to work in at least four days of cardio-specific exercise each week. Runners, bikers, swimmers or other serious endurance athletes often exercise up to six days a week, but regardless of your routines and workout strategies, you should always take at least one day a week off from all forms of exercise. You won’t build muscle or burn fat if you don’t give your body time to repair muscles and recover from workouts. Personal experience how taught me that my body functions best with two full days of rest, but every person is different and certainly exercise isn’t the only factor (age, diet, lifestyle, sleep behavior, etc.). If you decide to go full throttle and limit yourself to one day of rest, make sure that once a month you give yourself a healthy break of several days to allow your body to fully (truly, fully) recover.
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The Dangers Of Over-Exercising (A Word For Your Average Jack And Jill)
Exercise is almost always a good thing. This is a proven fact. When you exercise, your heart begins to pump more efficiently, oxygen flow increases, your immune system kicks into action, and your body even releases endorphins that make you happier. So yes, exercise is definitely a good thing.
But! It’s not impossible to over-do it, which is most common among the cardio-loving crowd. This WebMD article highlights in detail the major dangers involved in pushing yourself to – or beyond – the limit. The big picture here is that if you’re into exercise for health, you don’t need to kill yourself. Pushing yourself too far can damage your heart. Further, the article also notes that people who exercised only moderately had almost identical health benefits compared to those exercised with pointed intensity. If you want to lead the healthier lifestyle, exercise doing things you love and take a moment every now and then to make sure you aren’t taking things too far.
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