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How often should you exercise?

If you're starting on your fitness journey, that's a valid question to ask. The answer is fairly straightforward

Should you train everyday?
Should you train everyday? (Unsplash)

The number of times that you plan to train in a week depends on many factors. These could depend on your fitness goals, how intensely you plan to train, or if you’re recovering from an injury. The training regimen that you follow also dictates the frequency of exercise.

Basically, this is how exercise works. You work out and stress different systems in your body. This leads to fatigue, and the body then adapts to the stresses and, in a way, builds back better. This is most clearly seen when it comes to building muscles. Every time you workout with weights, your muscles are expressing stress. When you rest, the muscles build themselves back, and in doing so, become stronger and bigger.

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Of course, it stands to reason that lifting weight will not do anything for your cardiovascular system. Which is why a weekly exercise ‘split’ is required. This is about how you order the exercises in any given week. You’re training your arms one day, working on your endurance another day, training your legs another day and so on.  Done correctly, this leads to you becoming an all-round fitter person.

The key to seeing these benefits lies in two things: repetition and recovery. You need to repeat your moves, whether it is a bench press or skipping rope. The more you do it, the better your body becomes at doing it. And you start to see the gains. Recovery is an equally important component. Much of the benefits of training is felt when you’re asleep, when your body builds itself back while at rest. This is the reason why you need to give your body enough time to adapt. Figuring out the perfect balance between the effort you put in and the rest you require will effectively determine the number of times you will train in a week.

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Two other factors that play an important role are nutrition and moderation. As Lounge’s fitness writers have pointed out in multiple stories, all the effort you put in at training is useless if you don’t back it up with proper nutrition. Eat well, eat balanced meals and eat regularly. Don’t be fooled by the latest faddish diet, because a diet isn’t something that you can sustain forever. What you can sustain is eating healthy, nutritious meals. Finally, learn to train smart. Don’t over-stress your body, and don’t try to prove anything by lifting weights that are heavier than what you can manage. Down that road lies injury. Once you figure out a balanced training regime that works for you, you will have the answer to that perennial question: how often should you exercise?

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