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How much exercise should you do a day?

As adults we should be exercising daily in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But just how much exercise should you do a day and during the week? 

According to the NHS, adults aged between 19 and 64 should be doing some form of exercise each day - although the exact amount is not specified, the general consensus is ‘the more the better’. 

In terms of how much you should be exercising a week, you should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity (or 75 minutes of high intensity activity if you prefer). 

Moderate intensity activity examples

There are plenty of moderate intensity activities out there that you can try. In order to stay motivated with working out, it can be a good idea to switch up your fitness routine, here’s a list of moderate intensity activities to get you started:

  • Cycling (in an area that is flat or doesn't have many hills)
  • Hiking
  • Basketball
  • Brisk walking or walking uphill 
  • Weight training 
  • Jogging

You may not realise it, but you could already be doing forms of moderate-intensity activity in your day-to-day life; this can include carrying older (and heavier) children and pushing a lawn mower. So, whilst 150 minutes of performing moderate-intensity activities a week might sound daunting, don’t forget that some of this time is spent on daily activities. 

When you’re engaged in a moderate-intensity workout, you’ll be at about fifty to seventy percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). A good way to tell if you’re at this level is to try and talk; if you are able to comfortably talk but are unable to sing, you’re working out at a moderate-intensity level. If you are able to sing without any trouble, it’s likely that you’re exercising at a lower level and if you are unable to say more than a few words before struggling for breath, you are probably working out at a more intense level. 

Can you exercise too much? 

Whilst exercising is great for keeping you at a healthy weight and improving both your physical and mental health, there is such a thing as exercising too much. What counts as ‘overdoing it’ will really depend on a number of factors, such as your age, the type of workouts you're engaging in and your health. As previously mentioned, the recommended amount of exercise an adult should get a week is 150 minutes worth, but exercising way over this amount could do more damage than good.

Signs that you may be exercising too much include:

  • Lingering pain, soreness or discomfort

Feeling sore after a workout is certainly normal, especially when you’re just starting out. That said, if you experience soreness, discomfort or a lingering pain for more than a couple of days, this could be an indication that you’re pushing yourself too hard and should take a break. Moreover, experiencing pain in just one side of your body suggests that you have overworked that particular part and may require extra healing time. Working out whilst your body is still trying to recover from your last active session could lead to you injuring yourself - which you definitely want to avoid!

  • Exercising has become an obsession

If you’re living and breathing exercise, you probably need to take a step back. Having motivation to workout is great and you want to keep that enthusiasm going, however, when exercise begins to take over family time, work and social outings, you may be focusing too much time on exercise. 

  • You’re working out less frequently but pushing yourself too hard

You may have working out as the last thing on your to-do list, and, by the time you get around to it, you may be tempted to squeeze in as many exercises as possible which could leave you feeling worse for wear. 

When it comes to exercise, you should try and introduce activities into your routine slowly so that it is more manageable; when your body gets used to this level of exercise, you can begin to increase the intensity or frequency of your workouts at a pace which suits you. 

  • You have an unbalanced fitness regime

There may be a particular type of exercise that you love and want to dedicate your training time to - whilst this is great and you should certainly engage in enjoyable exercises, your fitness regime should also include other activities to avoid overtraining certain areas of your body. For example, if you only ever run, your endurance will improve greatly but you will be neglecting other parts of your body and could suffer from pains caused by not spending sufficient time stretching. 

Workouts should be balanced so that you can build strength in your muscles and increase your endurance and flexibility. All of your joints should get moving so that you avoid injury from overtraining a few parts of the body. 

If you’re worried about exercising too much, just listen to your body to gauge how it’s coping. For instance, if your pains and aches last longer than a couple of days then this a sign you may be doing too much too fast. Remember, building strength and becoming comfortable with exercise takes time and you need to give your body time to recover. 

Final notes

From helping you to live longer and giving you more energy, exercise is important for us for a number of reasons. As adults, we should all be exercising daily to maintain a healthy lifestyle but it can understandably be difficult to find the time during busy weeks. Why not read our blog on how to exercise when you have no time to learn how you can start incorporating more workouts into your daily routine?

Getting the motivation to exercise can also be tricky. To stay on track, remind yourself why you want to be more active and the benefits exercise has for your body. If you have any questions or need support, we’re here to help.

Looking to get active? 

If you live in Dorset and you’re looking for some motivation or help in getting more active, we can help!

You can register with us today or get in touch with our friendly team to find out more about how we can help. With our professional advisors and coaches on hand to support you, you can reach your fitness goals and start enjoying a healthier lifestyle.

Georgina

"In January 2019, I was five stone heavier. Now, with the weight loss, parkrun and netball, my anxiety has improved tenfold."

View full story

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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