How Much Should You Work Out

First of all, let’s get one thing out of the way: You don’t work out enough. No matter how much exercise you’re doing right now, it’s probably a lot less than you think it is.

Trying to lose weight? You need to eliminate 3,500 calories from your life in order to lose a pound. An hour of running on the treadmill will burn 500 calories or less.

people are stretching during workoutIf that’s all you’re doing to lose weight, it’s going to take you a week of running every single day to lose a single little pound. And running for an hour, non-stop, is a lot harder than you think it is.

So how often –and how much— should you work out? It depends on what your goals are.

For Overall Health

  • The Department of Health and Human Services recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity every week (or at least 30 minutes on most days of the week). That’s in addition to doing strength training at least twice a week. This is only for overall health and fitness.

To Lose Weight

  • Exercise is not as effective for weight loss as you think it is, so if you’re trying to lose weight, you’re going to need to at least double those numbers. Even better, double those numbers and increase the intensity as well.

For Muscle Definition

  • This one is a bit tricky. You should give your muscles between 24 and 48 hours of rest in between workouts. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t work out while muscles are resting. What you can’t do is work out the same muscle group two days in a row. But if you work out your lower body (legs, hips, thighs) on Mondays and Wednesdays, you can work out your arms on Tuesdays and Fridays and your chest and back on the remaining days.

Rest Days

  • It’s okay to take a rest day at least once a week. In fact, it’s more than recommended. Tired muscles are more likely to get injured during a workout, since you won’t be able to perform your best or keep proper positioning because of the soreness. If you haven’t exercised before (or for a long time), take it easy, work slowly and rest well. Your body will thank you.