How Much Exercise Do You Need per Day?

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Do you wonder how many times a week you should exercise or how to optimally format your training over the course of a week? If so, you’re in luck as the purpose of this article is to highlight exercise guideline recommendations and break down how you can plan your training week in a realistic manner. 

The ACSM physical activity guidelines recommend that all healthy adults aged 18-65 should participate in moderate intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes on five days per week or vigorous intensity aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 minutes on three days per week. 

That’s a lot of words. Let’s break it down; do something that doesn’t feel overly difficult for 30+ minutes five times per week, or do something that is physically challenging for 20+ minutes every other day or three times per week. 

The premise is simple: If you train hard you should do less. If you train light or keep it easy you should do more. 

But wait, there’s more. 

In addition to the above, the ACSM recommends that every adult should perform activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance for a minimum  of two days a week.

We now have 2-3 sessions of moderate to intense activity as well as 2 sessions of strength or endurance based activity each week. 

Walking is probably the best example of moderate activity. The goal here is to increase your heart rate beyond resting level. While in this intensity you should be able to feel like you could do it for over an hour if you were pushed to do so. 

Examples of vigorous activities include jogging or running, fast swimming, martial arts and participation in most team based sports. 

Below are two of many potential schedules that could be used to ensure that you meet physical activity guidelines

Vigorous intensity exercise will typically need to be scheduled or structured into your daily routine but it is important to note here that moderate physical activity guidelines can be met in chunks throughout the day. For instance, if you walk 15 minutes to work each day you have covered the minimum recommendation guidelines.