Exercising is important, but how many days a week should you work out exactly? After all, a one hour workout is just 4% of your day. There’s no simple formula on how many days you should workout, and everyone’s body is different. Research shows that lifting weights 3 days a week is recommended, but you should at least lift weights twice per week in order to maximize muscle growth. According to Self, “if you want to work out five days per week and are working on both strength and cardiovascular fitness, try three days of strength training, two days of cardio, and two days of active rest.” Having rest and active recovery days are very important so you don’t injure yourself. Weight training is important because “the more muscle you have the higher your metabolic rate. It also strengthens joints and bones.” (Self)
I’ve participated in a few workout challenges during quarantine which focused on 3 or 4 days of weights with 3 or 4 days of low impact training (walking), cardio, and HIIT workouts mixed in. There was only 2 rest days. Although, I was in great shape, I was very tired some days. Although fitness challenges can help you build muscle and increase your endurance in a short period of time, I don’t recommend doing them consecutively. I did three monthly challenges in a row. However, I feel l better when I have one or two rest days a week. I typically do 3 days of HIIT weight-training workouts and 2 or 3 days of cardio and/or low impact training like walking. On low impact days, I try to walk or hike 4-8 miles. A lot of trainers and gyms will have classes that focus on arms, legs, chest, abs, etc during certain days of the week, which is great. However, I feel my best after doing a full body workout with my trainer. More and more trainers I know or personally follow on social media are shifting towards full body workouts over workouts concentrating on a particular body part. I feel like I’ve gotten stronger from full body workouts in a short period of time.
If you’re not used to working out, I suggest starting off slow and working out with a trainer or taking a workout class (virtual or one that takes social distancing into account). It’s important to make sure you know how to to work a machine or do an exercise properly so you don’t hurt yourself.
Just remember at the end of the day to listen to your body, and to create a work out schedule and routine that’s best for you!