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How often should you exercise? For weight loss and muscle building

Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Continue reading

Everyone knows that to stay healthy, you should exercise. But how often do you do Really Do you need to go to kickboxing class, roll out your yoga mat, or do some good home workout?

There are many reasons to exercise more that have nothing to do with how you look. Regular exercise can improve your mood, reduce stress, ward off disease, and contribute to overall well-being. But if your goal is to gain muscle or lose weight, we have you.

Grab your calendar and listen: This is how often you should exercise ̵

1; regardless of your goals – and how to create your optimal fitness routine.

If all you want to do is exercise to maintain your physical health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that you have at least one goal 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.

Moderate aerobic activity (also known as moderate intensity cardio) means you’re moving fast enough to speak, but not to sing that new Tay Swift song. Vigorous aerobic activity means you are breathing heavily and quickly – too fast to entertain yourself.

Split your minutes however you want – you do it. If your goal is to maintain basic health, you can also run briskly for 30 minutes 5 days a week (remember to work up a sweat!).

Wait … do you have to exercise every day?

When it comes to overall health, you don’t have to blow your bum every day of the week. In fact there is such a thing as too much Exercise. If you don’t get enough rest, your muscles won’t have time to recover.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t walk, bike to work, or take the stairs instead of the elevator every day. It is healthy to move your body consistently.

That depends on how quickly you want to see results. If your first thought is right now duh then experts say you should wait a minute 🛑: Losing pounds quickly is neither sustainable nor healthy.

According to the CDC, healthy weight loss means losing 1 to 2 pounds a week. Losing weight faster can lead to vitamin deficiency, fatigue, or other complications.

Basically, to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you expend. While your diet plays an important role in losing pounds, exercise can help too.

In general, try to exercise at least 4 or 5 days a week if you want to see weight loss in the short and long term.

To maximize results, plan to include both cardiovascular and strength training exercises in your regular routine. Your workout should be a combination of:

Not training for 4 to 5 days? Build up little by little!

You don’t have to work that hard from the start. Let’s say you are not exercising at all (no judgment!). In this case, steady weight loss can occur as early as 2 days a week. Once you get used to going to the gym or exercising at home, you can workout for up to 4 or 5 days.

Mixing cardio and strength training is key to a healthy weight loss plan.

When you lift weights, you build vital muscle mass. If you think, “Wait, I don’t want to massage myself,” just wait a minute. Building muscle mass can actually help you burn fat. It increases your metabolism and helps you burn calories faster – even if you’re just lying on the couch and watching Netflix.

Cardio, meanwhile, is good for your heart and your whole body. It can also help you burn calories, improve your mood, and reduce stress.

At a glance, your weekly weight loss exercise routine might look something like this:

Cardio for weight loss: 5 days a week

Whether swimming, biking, running, or hiking, choose a cardio activity that works best for you.

According to the CDC, you should either do at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity cardio for at least 5 days a week (a total of 150 minutes per week) or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity 3 days a week (a total of 75 minutes per week).

But that’s only for basic health. If you want to lose weight, consider a combination of at least 2 days of moderate activity and 2 days of vigorous activity.

Strength training for weight loss: 2 to 3 days a week

Shoot weight training 2 to 3 days a week. For best results, include full body training with compound exercises (exercises that work multiple muscles at the same time). Some ideas:

Don’t worry if you don’t have equipment or if you don’t know all of the moves – your own body weight and anything you remember from high school can help you get fit. Here are some more basic exercises that you should try:

Rest for weight loss: 2 days a week

No matter how excited you are about your # witness goals, your body needs a break every now and then. Give your muscles time to recover at least 2 days a week.

Keep the following tips in mind to maximize your weight loss:

  • Vary your exercise intensity with both HIIT and moderately intense movements.
  • Mix up your cardio routine. Isn’t it time to get started inline skating?
  • Do circuit training when lifting weights to keep your calorie consumption high. (FYI, circuit training means doing exercises with no breaks in between. At the end of the series, you will rest for about a minute.)
  • Don’t forget to take a few days off here too! You deserve it.

If you want to get stronger and build muscle, you need the right balance between cardio and weight training. If you do too much, you risk overtraining and (* pant *) losing your hard-earned muscles. But if you don’t step up the intensity and enter the time, your muscle gains will be # weak.

Diet is also important when it comes to building muscle. In general, you should use the same practices that you would use for losing weight, including:

Here’s how to get your workout going to the You.

Your unique schedule will depend on your current fitness level, lifestyle, and needs. It could look like this:

Cardio for muscle building: 3 days a week

Schedule cardio 2 or 3 days a week. Focus on short, high-intensity sessions (think 25 minutes of HIIT).

Strength training for muscle building: 3 days a week

To maximize muscle gain, you need to whip the weights at least 3 days a week. According to a 2016 study, maximizing muscle growth requires strength training at least 2 days a week.

After a while, your body can get used to the routine. In this case, your progress may stagnate. To keep your body from reaching a muscle building plateau, either make your routine more difficult or mix it up by adding weight or changing the sets / reps.

If you’re not sure what is right for you, speak to a personal trainer.

Rest to build muscle: 2 to 3 days a week

It might not sound like intuitive, but resting can lead to significant improvements in your fitness routine. Doing the same exercises day in and day out can stifle recovery and cause you to actually lose muscle over time.

If you still want some exercise (more strength for you) on rest days, consider dedicating it to stretching or gentle yoga. Your body will thank you.

You may also want to break your routine down into segments of your body to aid in building muscle. This is what it might look like to train with cardio and strength training 4 days a week:

Lower body: At least 2 days a week

When your fitness routine is in full swing, your bum and legs should get some attention at least 2 days a week.

Here are some exercises that target your glutes, quads, and hamstrings:

Upper body: At least 2 days a week

Your abs, back, shoulders, arms, and chest need to be toning at least 2 days a week. To work on your biceps, triceps, deltoids, pecs, and abs, here are the steps you should take:

Both cardio and strength training are key to achieving your weight loss or muscle growth goals. What is right for you will depend on your unique body, lifestyle, and needs. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to a personal trainer.

If you’re just looking to maintain basic health, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.

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