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How Often Should I Work Out?

written by: Nichole Bolton • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 7/6/2011

Exercise can be performed at different frequencies depending on the fitness level of the person working out, and different workout frequencies have different results. Some people exercise every other day, while others work out daily.

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    How Often Should I Work Out? Image Credit: SFO CP Exercise has many health benefits, including decreased risk for heart problems, weight loss, strength gains, higher energy, improvement in moods and improved body image. When beginning a fitness program, it can be confusing to figure out how often to exercise and what types of exercises to perform. If you find yourself wondering, "How often should I work out?" you have come to the right place.

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    How Often Should I Work Out?

    Most fitness professionals recommend working out for at least 30 minutes every day. Strength training can be performed daily, as long as each muscle group has a day of rest in between workouts. This means that if the leg muscles are worked on Monday, they should be given a day's rest on Tuesday and then can be worked again on Wednesday. On the days in between, another muscle group can be exercised. It is generally recommended that a muscle group is only exercised twice a week, although some people do three times a week.

    Some people choose to do strength training every other day, and cardio exercise on the days that they don't lift weights. This ensures that enough exercise is being performed that there will be health benefits and strength gains, but the body isn't being overworked and there is a lower likelihood of injuries. This can be split up into muscle groups, or it can be something like this:

    Monday - Upper body strength training

    Tuesday - Running on the treadmill

    Wednesday - Full body strength training

    Thursday - Bicycling

    Friday - Lower body strength training

    Saturday - Elliptical machine

    Sunday - Rest day

    As long as exercise is performed three days a week, there will still be health and weight loss benefits. People who choose to exercise daily can take one day off a week to allow their body to rest and recover. Even when following a three day exercise plan, it is still beneficial to the heart to get some form of physical activity each day, even if it is in the form of slow walking or cleaning.

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    Using the above information can help you to determine the answer to the question, "How often should I work out?" Depending on the results you are looking for, you may choose to exercise daily, or every other day. As long as you perform half an hour's worth of physical activity each day, your body will be receiving the many health and mood benefits of exercise. You may wish to start out by exercising every other day, and then increase the amount and duration of your exercise when you feel that your body is ready for more work.

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    References

    FamilyDoctor.org: The Exercise Habit - http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/healthy/physical/basics/059.html

    IntenseWorkout.com: Workout Frequency - http://www.intense-workout.com/workout_frequency.html

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    Photo Credit

    Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/45825464@N03/4208760040/.