How Much Exercise is Enough?

Hey all,

So, last week’s post on getting inspired to move was a general push to help motivate those not accustomed to working out to make arrangements to do so. Today’s post is about working out a little more specifically.  Now, I already said before that I won’t ever try and convince anyone that a certain type of exercise is the ONLY way to go.  That is a personal preference and each body is different. You must experiment with different types of activities to find what works best for you. Then, if you’re like me, you will alternate these activities to keep from getting bored.

Yet, the question remains, how long should I work out when I find that activity?  I’m going to say up front that this may depend

this is not a “normal” person

on your level of ability and your convenience of time (not everyone has the luxury of spending 2.5 hours in a gym everyday). So, my answer to this is meant for the average, normal person who has a normal job and normal commitments in life.

First off, let’s talk cardio.  You know, that stuff you do that gets your heart pumping and the blood moving and your body sweating like a pig in heat. Chances are if you are reading this blog, you want to lose weight or maintain a weight loss. This means that you probably need more cardio than say a “naturally” thin person or someone who wants to build bulky muscles. I should also mention that it is well documented that exercise is only about 15 – 20% of the equation in creating a slim/toned physique. Food choices and eating is the real game changer in this scenario. But we’ll talk about that later; right now it’s about the physical aspect. I’m going to now quote from one of my favorite books on the matter of weight loss (a tragedy that you won’t be able to get this as it had a limited printing) called I Can I Will! by G. Barton Payne:

“We have a different objective when we exercise for weight loss. We are trying to increase the rate of our metabolism and increase the number of calories we burn…The ideal commitment for optimal weight loss and increasing metabolism is 45-60 minutes per day, five days per week. You should never attempt to attain this level unless you start slowly and build up your strength, stamina, and flexibility. I do not recommend exercising in excess of 60 minutes per day, 5 days per week. To exercise at that level, you must be in excellent physical condition.  Exercising more than 60 minutes per day produces very marginal additional benefits and significantly increases the risk of stress injury. To put it bluntly, ‘it ain’t worth it’! If you have a tendency to [do] compulsive behavior, this is a good opportunity to demonstrate to yourself your power to ‘be in charge’.”

a “normal” person working out

I seem to remember watching an Oprah episode once about exercising for weight loss and the amount and intensity seemed daunting.  It was like 8 days a week for 2 hours at a time which means you would have to add extra time to a few workouts because there obviously aren’t 8 days in a week. But, maybe that was if you only wanted to lose weight with workouts and the eating factor wasn’t included. For me, G. Barton Payne’s suggestion seems realistic, genuine and do-able. This is the way I prefer to workout, and if I am consistent (because that is KEY) I can feel that it makes a huge difference.

Now, in regards to weight lifting/resistance training, that will definitely vary on convenience and availability of equipment. I’m not sure you are aware, but there are plenty of workouts designed to build muscles and tone without using weights….ever. I can show you some if you would like later, but I enjoy doing a variety of hand-held weight exercises, body resistance, and machines at the gym.  From my various research about this topic, I have decided that for me, this type of training, in

probably wants bulk & bumps

order to have any results, must be done 3 days a week for about 30 minutes at a time. You may need to tweek your time if you want different results. I’m only interested in gaining toned muscles, sleek lines and an overall trim-yet obviously worked out body. If you want bulk or bumps, then that will be a different workout story.

In conclusion, you must do what you can in the amount of time that is realistic.  If cardio for 60 minutes per day,  5 days a week is a no-way situation, you may need to re-evaluate your weight loss intentions. You are trying to lose weight, right? Then you must make the opportunity and not just “hope that it will happen.” It either happens or it doesn’t. It’s that simple. You make the choice.

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