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Wendy's Blog

How Often Should You Exercise?

As a trainer one of the most popular questions I get asked is

"How often should I exercise?"

Although there's no straightforward answer there are a few things to consider:

Stress Levels

Are you stressed? eg Emotional Stress (worry over financial issues, relationships, family, jobs etc), and Physical Stress (bad diet, physical job, lack of sleep, bad posture, prescription drugs, illness, injury etc).

Stress is cumulative so imagine you have a bucket and you throw all of your Mental, Emotional and Physical stress inside. If you keep adding stress then eventually it will overflow and this is when illness and disease manifests itself. If you exercise on top of an already tired and weak body (or an almost full bucket of stress) then exercise will cause you more harm than good.

Type of Exercise

Not all exercise is created equal. Some exercise gives the body energy and some takes it away. For example, exercises like weight training, interval training, rowing, and running all break down the body and then the body must use energy to build it back up. The more intense the exercise the more energy is required. These exercises can be very beneficial but you need the energy there in the first place.

Other exercises like Tai Chi, Walking in Nature, Qigong, and Traditional Yoga, these exercises accumulate energy and reduce stress levels. So if you are low on energy and high on stress then these are a better option.

Recovery Time

As I'm sure you have noticed we are all different, both on the outside and the inside. The human body and mind is constantly in a state of change. Some weeks we are full of energy and are raring to go and other times we struggle just getting out of bed. It takes time to recover from strenuous exercise. Benefits from exercise are achieved while we are recovering not while we are exercising. Exercise breaks down the body, recovery builds it back up. Some people will take longer to recover from exercise based on their genetics, diet, stress, lifestyle etc. So recovery from exercise is very personal and will change from week to week.

Here are a few other things to consider:
  1. If you are only exercising to lose weight then focus on your nutrition 100%
  2. Start with moderate exercise like some bodyweight circuits 3x per week
  3. If you don't improve your strength and reps every session then add an extra days rest
  4. If you are exhausted then either don't workout at all, take it very easy or perform more energy producing and stress reducing exercises
  5. Limit your intense sessions to only 2x week and experiment with other forms of exercise
 
So you see, exercise is important but you need to learn to be flexible with it, even Mother Nature takes a rest during the winter months!
 
Good luck and keep me posted on your progress!

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