“How often should I workout” is a question that I get all the time from my clients. And the short answer is, “it depends.”
The longer answer is that your body craves activity. Your muscles, joints, organs, and cells love it. Exercise helps improve your circulation and move your lymph. Moving your body is also fundamental for your mood and energy levels.
Make it fun
Ok, so now that you know it’s essential to move your body every day, what type of exercise should you do? First and foremost, pick activities that you like. Then, make it fun, so you stick with your workouts. If you choose something you don’t like (just because it’s the newest craze or you think it will burn many calories), you’re less likely to stick with it.
There are so many activities that you can do. For example, you could walk, run, swim, bike, lift weights, take a class, hula-hoop, or turn on some music and dance like no one’s watching.
Change it up
Whatever you do, don’t do the same thing every day.
If you like to run, include some variety by adding yoga and strength. If you prefer to lift weights, vary the muscle groups you work with each day (and never the same body part two days in a row). And add in some cardio and stretching as well.
When you do the same workout continuously, two things can happen. First, you open the door for an over-use injury. When you repeatedly do the same movement over and over again, you cause undue stress that could result in pain, strains, or worse.
Secondly, your body gets good at that one activity, making it more efficient. When your body creates that new efficiency, you’re no longer getting the same benefit as when you first started it. That means you’re no longer burning the same amount of calories or seeing similar changes in your body for the same exercise–you might have to workout longer or harder to see similar results. If you vary your activities, you keep your body guessing.
For example, walking is a great activity that most people can do every day to stay healthy. But if you walk the exact 2 miles every day, you’re no longer burning as many calories or stimulating your muscles in the same way. So, to “trick” your body, change up your route. For example, you can vary the distance, terrain, pace, or total time of your walk.
Adding in these options also keeps your mind more engaged, so you’re not seeing the same view each time you go for a walk. If you get bored or burned out from doing the same workout continuously, you’re more likely to quit.
The same thing applies to any strength training. You can add variety by doing different exercises. For instance, there is more than one way to work your biceps, such as bicep curls, hammer curls, and chin-ups. You can also vary how slowly or quickly you perform the repetitions. For example, you could do a four-count or an eight-count movement.
Another way to add variety is to use different types of equipment. For example, dumbbells, resistance bands, kettlebells, medicine balls, stability balls, and weight machines all stimulate your muscles in different ways.
So, yes, you CAN exercise every day. But don’t do the same workout every day. Instead, have some easy days and some that are moderate or hard. Be sure to include some cardio, strength, flexibility, mobility, and balance activities for optimal health. And if you prefer to do one type of exercise over another, you can make that your primary activity, but make sure to add other options to your weekly schedule.
And, no, you don’t have to exercise every day. Aim for about 30 minutes three to five days a week. If you’re new to exercising, start small to create the habit, and then you can build on it. It’s okay to take a day off or give yourself an active recovery day.
Variety is the spice of life, and it’s the key to more well-rounded health. You’ll challenge your muscles and your mind, keep your workout fresh, and prevent injury. You’ll also keep from getting bored or burned out with your exercise routine.
PS Whenever you’re ready… Here are 4 ways I can help you make the shift from settling for the results you’re currently getting to feeling stronger and sexier than you did when you were younger!
- Get your free Food & Mood tracker. It’s excellent for noticing what you’re eating and why.
- Join other like-minded people taking control of their health in my Peace Run Yoga Facebook Group! It’s a place to share ideas, get advice, and meet others on a health journey.
- Join me for a live yoga class from the comfort of your own home. Check out the online class schedule and sign up!
- Work with me ONE-ON-ONE to step off the health rollercoaster. Send me an email with the words “I’M READY” in the subject line… tell me a little about your current health and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!