We have all heard the mantra bandied about that we should be exercising for at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week. How accurate is this however? The answer has several factors and considerations.
The first question to ask when embarking on an exercise regime is what kind of exercise will you be doing? Obviously, if you are only doing a light walk for 30 minutes, five days per week, you are not going to reach your weight loss or fitness goals (if you have any) as quickly as someone who runs for half an hour or who lifts weights in the same time frame.
Exercising daily however, or at least six days per week has many advantages. Firstly, it helps you develop a habit. The longer that habit sticks around, the more it becomes ingrained in your day-to-day routine and is more likely to stick around long term.
Exercising inconsistently will not help you become fitter nor will it enable you to track and measure results. There is, however, the additional question of when you should workout. If you really only have time for three or four workouts each week, is it better to lump them all together, day after day, or is it best to spread them out over the week?
The New York Times recently answered this question and the answer was that it does matter when you schedule your workouts. They should be as lumped together as possible. Why? In this article, Dr Michael Joyner, a physiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, says, “[exercise] can lead to almost immediate improvements in blood-sugar control and blood pressure for many people…but if you then don’t walk or otherwise exercise for several consecutive days, those health benefits can evaporate.”
The article goes on to state that endurance will fade rapidly if you go without exercise for several days in a row. As will motivation.
The accepted norm seems to be that it is best not to miss more than two days’ of exercise in a row. If you are travelling and find it difficult to exercise, see some of my previous posts on exercising while on the go. Consistent and regular exercise is not only great for your health, fitness and weight but has excellent benefits for your mood and happiness. Once your workout is done, it’s done, and you can move on to other things in your day. Get started now!