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How often should I exercise?

So you have decided to start on your new health and fitness regime. You have hundreds of options available to you: join a gym, start a fitness class, exercise at home or train for an event. No matter what option you choose there is still one question that must always be answered, how often should I exercise? Figuring out how often to perform your fitness regime comes down to 3 personalized factors. Firstly, how much time you have and how much time you are prepared to commit to getting results. Secondly, how intense the activity you are choosing to perform. Finally, how quickly you recover. Lets take a look at each of these in turn.Before starting your new exercise regime it is important to ask yourself how committed you are to the cause? Exercising once every 2 weeks won’t get you very far. Be honest with yourself. Realistically you need to do something at least twice per week. Now it is no good saying you are going to go all out and train 5 times per week when you know that you have little time for exercise and exercise isn’t at the top of your priority list. Once you know how often you are going to exercise you can decide on the intensity of the workout. Here you can start to get a little more creative. Intensity is key when it comes to fat loss so you are better working out harder for less days per week than lightly every day. This is a common mistake made by many people, often believing that more is better. If your goals are something less intense like Pilates or Yoga then you could perform these activities more frequently. So you should now know the intensity and frequency of your workouts. The final thing to consider, and in my mind the most important, is how quickly you recover. Recovery is the key to any exercise program. You make progress when you recover from the exercise not when you are performing it. Our body learns from each session and through recovery makes it easier for us the next time. This is why you should always increase the intensity slightly over time. We all recover at different speeds depending on age, diet, stressors, genetics etc. Listen to your body and adjust the frequency accordingly. Consider these 3 simple factors when planning out your exercise regime and you will get the maximum benefits from each workout. My advice would be to start exercising at a good intensity every other day. Listen to your body and take an extra day off if necessary. As you get used to your routine experiment with the intensity and frequency. The harder you work the more time you will need to recover. Don’t forget that recovery is the most important factor but that doesn’t make the perfect excuse for doing nothing. written by Greg Brookes of GB Personal Training

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