“How Long Should I Workout?” is one of the most commonly asked questions among gym goers, and depending on who you ask – the answer can vary greatly depending on what your goals are, how much available time you have, how old you are, what your workouts consists of, and what your current fitness level is.
Most people who exercise regularly (i.e. 2 – 5 days per week) are not trying to look like a Professional Bodybuilder nor are they trying to train so that they can perform like a World Class Athlete. They are usually exercising because they want to improve their overall health, they want their clothes to fit better, or they just want to look better. The individuals who have very ambitious aspirations such as the Bodybuilder or World Class Athletes mentioned above exercise at varying durations, intensity levels, and at different frequencies.
With all that said – if you want the answer to the question of how long should you workout, you need to first identify what your current fitness level is as well as clearly identify your goals so that you can best determine what type of program can benefit YOU the most.
For example, if you are a 65-year-old at a beginner fitness level and you decide that you want to embark on a fitness journey that includes losing over 100 pounds, then your workouts would start at a lower intensity level. Begin with 2 – 3 days per week, with the duration of your workouts being anywhere from 20 – 40 minutes with the goal of getting to 60 minutes within a month of starting your new exercise program.
However, if you are a lean 17-year-old high school athlete who is looking to get bigger & stronger in the summer before your football season starts in the fall, then you would start your workouts at a moderate to high intensity level. Begin with 3 – 5 days per week with the duration of your workouts being closer to 60 minutes with the goal of getting up to 90 minutes within a month of starting your new exercise program.
When you view these 2 examples, you can clearly see that there are many components to factor in when you are designing a fitness program. From the start of your new program, always be sure to give yourself an honest evaluation of your health history, injury history, medical history, along with identifying your goals so that you can have the most accurate exercise program for you and your body.
If you need professional assistance identifying those factors listed above, then you should strongly consider contacting a local personal trainer in your own community to help you create a customized program designed for your body.
You always want to err on the side of caution when it comes to having extended workouts because by overtraining, you can increase health & injury risks such as the following:
- Heart Failure
- Muscle Overuse
- Lack of Muscle Recovery
- Muscle Cramps
- Short & Long Term Injury
These are just some of the concerns that come with overtraining and although you should be commended for having the ambition to exercise at a high level for longer stretches, you can definitely create long term problems for yourself if you are not careful.
By pushing too hard for too long, you can hurt yourself in a variety of ways that can stretch out several weeks, months, or even years. A healthy exercise program doesn’t need to exceed 60 minutes and in some cases, it is more ideal to have a 20 – 30 minute routine a few days per week. The key to every successful exercise program is to make it safe, make it efficient, and customize it to your body.
Above everything else, the main and most important component to factor in when deciding how long you should exercise is safety – no matter what fitness level you are currently at.
As a quick & easy takeaway for you – please remember this general rule of thumb when deciding your workout length, everyone needs to continuously exercise for 10 – 60 minutes to receive the needed physical and mental benefits. However, you should never exceed 60 minutes of continuous exercise unless you are being supervised by a trained professional and/or have the clearance to do so by your doctor. Safety first!