How often should you work out for fitness, health or weight loss goals?

How often should you work out for fitness, health or weight loss goals? Picture: Supplied

How often should you work out for fitness, health or weight loss goals? Picture: Supplied

Published May 11, 2022


Some people spend hours at the gym several times a week, while others barely have the time and energy to fit in one session.

But both types of gym-goers can be equally frustrated by not seeing results. So what is the sweet spot when it comes to how often a person should work out?

A quick Google search with the keywords “how much exercise does an average person need” will yield results that say “at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week”.

Herbalife Nutrition NAB Sivuyile Madikana says that 150 minutes seems like a lot of time, but it is not as bad as it sounds.

Madikana says a person could cover their weekly exercise requirements quicker than it would take you to finish an “Avengers” movie – but not many have time to watch a three-hour movie in their busy lives.

“In a seven-day week, all we would need is 30 minutes of daily moderate exercise for five days to complete 150 minutes.

“This comes to about 21 minutes a day if you were to exercise for the full seven days of the week. Thirty minutes a day – some might still say they can’t fit it all in a go, but who is to say it cannot be split into two 15-minute exercise sessions both in the morning and evening,” he says.

Why 30 minutes? Madikana notes that exercising moderately (where your heart rate is about 50 to 60% higher than your average resting heart rate) for this amount of time has been shown to be of great benefit to your overall health. Below he shares some of the great benefits.

  • Exercise triggers the release of hormones called endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers) which aid in relaxation and the elevation of your mood post a workout, e.g. “runner’s high”.
  • Exercise also benefits the mind by increasing oxygen flow to your brain, which promotes improvement in executive functions such as memory and problem-solving. It also reduces your risk of cognitive decline the older you get and helps regulate sleep.
  • Exercise not only assists with weight loss, but also maintenance of your weight and coupled with that helps build strength and flexibility of the muscles.
  • Exercise improves your immune system and reduces the risk of developing a multitude of chronic illnesses.
  • It’s also been shown to slow down ageing and prolong life span.

Madikana says: “To reap the rewards of exercise, you don’t require hours in the gym, but once you are in a steady rhythm and reaping these rewards, who knows, you might only have time to exercise and very little time for anything else.”

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