It is important to ensure you’re working out enough to experience the benefits. But exercise too much, and you risk sustaining an injury. Here’s how much exercise you should do and how frequently, depending on your health and fitness goals:
To stay healthy, adults should do some form of physical exercise every day. Try to break up long periods of sitting with a walk or a quick home workout.
The NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Or, if you workout vigorously, 75 minutes per week is enough.
If you’re starting a new workout routine, exercising little and often tends to feel easier. And as such, is more sustainable.
You could meet the recommended exercise amount by doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five times a week. Or, if you prefer, you could do three or more intense 25 minutes workouts each week.
Moderate exercise includes brisk walking, riding a bike at a leisurely pace or hiking. Vigorous exercise includes running, riding a bike fast or using a rowing machine.
HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a particularly vigorous form of exercise. Try working out intensely on a rowing machine or air bike, in short bursts with rest in between. This is an effective way to get 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.
As part of your weekly exercise, you should aim to do strengthening exercise at least twice a week. Choose exercises that work out all the major muscle groups. For example, a full body dumbbell workout or a resistance band workout.
Read on to learn how often you should exercise if you want to lose weight or build muscle.
If you want to lose weight, it is a good idea to do some form of exercise every day. As a minimum you should do the NHS recommended amount, as explained above. But you may need to work out more than this to see weight loss results.
How much you need to exercise to achieve your weight loss goals will depend on your calorie intake. Put simply, the best way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume.
If you achieve a calorie deficit every day through your diet and exercise, you will start to lose weight. Being consistent is key. Losing weight gradually is healthier and more sustainable than trying to lose weight rapidly.
Start by working out how many calories you are currently eating per day. And then check how many calories you burn based on your current activity levels.
To sustain a healthy rate of weight loss, aim to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day. Work out how many additional calories you need to burn through exercise to create this deficit. And then plan your activities accordingly.
Say you currently eat 2500 calories a day and burn 2500 a day through normal activities. You could create a 500 calorie deficit by running on a treadmill for 30-60 minutes every day. Here’s a guide to calories burned during exercise, to help you work out which activities might work for you.
Aim to do a mixture of cardio and weight training. Cardio is an effective way to burn calories. And weight training increases lean muscle mass. Having more lean muscle increases your metabolism. This means you will burn more calories, even when resting.
If you want to gain muscle, you should combine cardio exercise with weight training. Cardio is important as it boosts your overall fitness levels and keeps you lean. Weight training will help you build muscle mass.
But how often should you lift weights to gain muscle effectively? Research suggests you need to train each muscle group twice a week, to see results. To avoid injury, don’t work out the same muscle group on consecutive days. You need to give the muscle time to repair and grow.
Check out our workout regime for fitness enthusiasts for a five-day split strength training programme you can try at home.
To summarise, here’s how much exercise per week you should do:
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