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New research shows that working out too much can be just as harmful as too little exercise. Overdoing it can lead to injury and exhaustion, and can be taxing on your body, while inactivity can lead to obesity and other health issues. The general guideline for exercise has been thirty minutes a day, at least five times a week, to maintain a healthy weight and ward off diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. However, there is a difference between one long, intense workout and a several short, moderate workouts. You need to find the perfect balance for you, to gain the most benefits from your hard work. Here’s how!
Did You Know?
You don’t have to drag yourself to the gym every day. The truth is, what matters most is putting in around 150 minutes of physical activity each week. A study found in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism sampled about 2,300 adults who did 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week. Some people broke it up into multiple sessions, while others worked out only a few times a week. Those who exercised for the most cumulative minutes per week were the healthiest. The total amount, type, and intensity of each activity has a bigger effect on your body than frequency, as noted by Ian Janssen, professor at the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University in Canada.
Don’t Give Up!
Another recent study, conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, grouped 72 older, sedentary women into three categories: strength training and/or aerobic activity twice a week, four times a week, and six times a week, with each workout lasting about 40 minutes. The group who worked out four times a week (the middle group) burned the most calories, about 294 daily. Otherwise, there weren’t major differences between the groups after the four-month study, and all improved in fitness and shed body fat. However, the women who worked out six times a week decreased their calorie burn with non-exercise activities. The study author believes that time constraints were the key factor that makes too much exercise burn less calories. In theory, when you spend more time in the gym (and getting to the gym), you will be less likely to do other active daily exercises such as walking or hiking.
Ready, Set, Go!
It’s a stretch to say that you get the same benefits as working out once a week versus four to seven times a week. While fewer, longer workouts might lower cardiovascular risk, they won’t be as helpful for losing weight, upcoming training, or other goals. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report recommends special consideration with intense workouts as they can lead to joint irritation or muscle soreness.
In the end, it’s best to exercise more often than scarcely. Shorter, frequent workouts that combine cardiovascular exercise with strength training are your best bet. Take advantage of the time you have, and how it can benefit you the most! Strategic workouts make for the best results. Start now to see the difference!
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