How Many Times a Week Should You Be Exercising?

Dr Handicap - Running Shoe

Exercising is a hot topic these days. As much of America succumbs to the creeping disease of obesity, people are doing everything in their power to promote healthy living, which includes a regular dose of exercise and activity. But how much is the right amount? With America’s overweight stats standing at a shocking 60 million people, with 75% of men and 60% of women falling into the overweight category, it’s clear that we’re facing a worsening crisis. But it’s also clear that a lot of people want to lose weight, and are willing to put in the work required. It’s not an easy road, but with dedication and a little bit of self belief, you can lose all the weight you want.

Though essentially they are both terms to describe an excess of body fat, the words obesity and overweight are two different things entirely, and a distinction must be made between the two. Being overweight just means that you’re out of range for your ideal Body Mass Index (which is calculated measuring your height and current weight). Being obese, however, means that your BMI is wildly out of sync, or more than 20% over your ideal weight. Morbid obesity is a further classification for the issue, and describes a critical situation of obesity, which can pose many health risks if not managed.


Dr Handicap - Young Woman Exercising

Indeed, morbid obesity is sometimes classified as a disability if the effect on the people is truly debilitating. This classification allows patients to avail of benefits like a handicap parking space, which might initially seem counterintuitive, but in actual fact increase a morbidly obese person’s quality of life significantly. Something as simple as a handicap parking space allows disabled people to access their hometown in ways that they couldn’t without it. In some cases, it might be difficult for the patient to access the doctor’s office in the first place; this is where telemedicine comes in. Telemedicine is basically the practice of consulting a doctor or specialist from home, via a digital device like an iPad or PC. Morbidly obese people who couldn’t see their doctors can now benefit from temporary benefits like a handicap parking space, while they get to work on treating their condition.

And of course, the best way to treat and prevent overweight and obese issues is exercise. So how much should you be doing? As with any specialized form of treatment or program, it varies hugely from person to person. It also depends on how accustomed you are to exercising. If you’re just starting out incorporating it into your regime, then obviously you’re best to start out slow, and build up your cardio slowly and methodically. If, however, you’ve been exercising for a long time, then you’re going to be prepared for a longer, harder routine.

The rough aim, and a useful estimate for those dipping their toes into the fitness world for the first time, should be around three times a week. If you can fit it in, four or five times a week is better again, though time constraints are usually a factor for most people. Exercising once or twice a week won’t show results very fast at all, and won’t bestow you with more than a low level of overall fitness. Each workout should be around the 45-minute mark, and if you can fit it in, the full hour. Remember, a good chunk of that routine should be warming up; neglecting to warm up properly is a very common mistake among people new to fitness.

Dr Handicap - Gym Training

If your goal is to lose weight with exercising, you can implement a few tips and tricks to help your body along. The first bit of advice is to mix up your sessions, to keep your body from getting regulated to the same old habits. Vary the length, area of focus, and intensity of your workouts to keep your muscles on their toes, so to speak. Lifting weights is also a crucial activity to incorporate into your workout; it helps build valuable muscles, which means you’ll burn calories faster during each exercise session.

You also have to keep in mind that exercising is only one part of a valuable triangle when it comes to a healthy body. Sleep and the right kind of nutrition are also incredibly important. Also crucial are rest days; the body needs to time to acclimatize to the hard workouts you’re putting in. This is especially true if you’re lifting weights – three days in a row should be avoided, with two at the max. If this sounds like a lot, don’t panic. You can start slow; work out a plan with your primary care physician or personal trainer, make sure to stick to that plan, and only increase when you feel comfortable. Pretty soon you’ll be able to fight back against overweight and obesity and live at a healthy, appropriate weight.