September 17, 2019
We’ve all been there: be it for summer, a big event, or a New Year’s resolution, commitments to finally begin a workout routine gain traction, then seem to fall by the wayside. While it’s easy to blame ourselves for not sticking to a strict regimen, there’s actually a lot more to it. It’s important to remember that exercise isn’t one-size-fits-all. Establishing a consistent workout schedule depends on the individual and varies greatly based on the nature and intensity of the activity. Just like not exercising at all doesn’t work, over-exercising can also have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. So, if you’re just getting started, how many times a week should you be working out?
Establishing a weekly routine can be especially tricky for new runners. It’s easy to over-do it, which can cause injury and muscle stress. If you’re a beginner without much experience in other sports that involve running, it’s important to start slow so you can have a full understanding of how it will impact your health. Experts recommend that new runners should only run two to four times a week, for about thirty minutes (or about two to four miles).
Though many weight lifters are all about quantity, beginners need to remember that more isn’t always better. Weight training days shouldn’t be scheduled back-to-back as the body actually gets strong during periods of rest between workouts. Without giving your muscles time to heal and grow, you risk counteracting your hard work. It’s recommended that beginners dedicate two days a week to train all major muscle groups, meaning your chest, back, arms, shoulders, abs, and legs.
Also called HIIT, high-intensity interval training is one of the most intense ways to exercise. Made up of extremely powerful, short bursts of activity, HIIT shouldn’t be done every day of the week, nor should you be able to do so. If you’re completing the exercises properly at your max capacity, there shouldn’t be much energy leftover to sustain a daily schedule. Trainers recommend two or three days of HIIT per week, with 24 hours between each workout to provide ample time of rest and recovery.
Depending on the type of practice, yoga can be anything from pure relaxation to an intense sweat-session. For someone who’s never tried yoga, instructors suggest starting with a simple practice, like hatha yoga, three times a week. These are usually labeled as “gentle” classes, suitable for people of all ages. The benefits of yoga take time, so if you can’t hit a perfect downward-dog position on your first time, don’t push it. Commit to your schedule, and slowly increase as your flexibility improves.
Regardless of where you are in your health journey, it’s never beneficial to work out beyond your capacity. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, working alongside them, not against them. Your body and mind will thank you.