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How Much Time Do You Really Need for Exercise?

By Genevieve Cunningham

Exercise. Does this word get you excited about your next routine, or are you filled with a bit of dread? No matter which group you fall into, one thing is certain: Exercise is necessary for a better life. Once you get in the habit of working out, you may feel pretty accomplished … for a while, at least. But pretty soon, other thoughts start creeping in your head. Am I working out hard enough? Am I doing the right routine? Should I stay at the gym longer? And if we let those thoughts linger for too long, we start to get discouraged. Before you worry yourself out of the gym, take a look at how much time you really need to get in a good workout and improve your health.

Isn’t More Better?

For some reason, this is what we all tend to think. More means better. If we work out for two hours, we’ve burned more calories and worked more muscle groups than a 20-minute routine. While this may technically be true, it’s not always in your best interest. Most fitness and health professionals agree that a 20- to 30-minute workout is enough to challenge the body without burning yourself out. Working out longer than this is OK, but it's not really necessary.

What About Frequency?

So it's OK to work out for shorter lengths of time, but you still have to work out every day, right? While it’s easy to see why you might think this, it’s not necessarily true. The magical number for working out seems to be four to five times a week. If you would rather exercise six days, go for it. Only have time for three? It's definitely better than nothing. But no matter what you choose, try to allow for at least one rest day per week. This gives the body a chance to recover, which is when your muscles grow and the most change happens.

When it comes to fitness, the most important thing to do is what works for you. Anything is better than nothing, and as long as you're working to move forward, you're heading in the right direction. Do some research and some experimenting, find a routine that gets you pumped, and use it to get in the best shape and health of your life.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Woodstock, Ga.

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