It can be confusing when working out how much exercise you should/need to be doing throughout your weeks, in order to maintain a healthy and active life. Here we discuss some of the factors which you should consider, when deciding what your weekly gym schedule should look like…
- Sustainability is Key
No matter what, you should always aim for sustainability. This means, finding an amount of exercise that works for you each week, that you are able to continue to perform for extended periods of time.
All too often, people go too hard, too fast – and wind up burning out or injuring themselves. In order to prevent this, if you are at the beginning of your health journey, it is important to listen to what your body is telling you, and don’t be disheartened if you aren’t keeping up with those who have been active in the gym for years. Take it at your own pace, and speak with your trainer about what they recommend for you individually.
Flowing on from ‘sustainability’, we link in ‘recovery’. Recovery is vital in order to continue to progress in your fitness both in aerobic exercise, and resistance training. If the body isn’t given enough time to rest and recuperate following activity, our risk of injuries and illness increase. That being said, this does not give you permission to use ‘recovery’ as an excuse for missing a session, if the real reason is that you just ‘don’t feel like it’…we know all the tricks in the book 😉
The amount of exercise you perform each week also depends on the individual goals which you have set for yourself. Not only can this impact how much exercise you require, but also the type of exercise you should be performing. Whilst a healthy mix of both aerobic and resistance training is recommended at all times – training to run a marathon for example, may require a slight heavier aerobic training workload, than the goal of building 2kg of muscle. Again, if you haven’t already, have a chat with your trainer and ask them what they would suggest.
- What the Research Says
Whilst there are a number of factors that play a part in determining how much exercise and what type of exercise we should be doing; the Australian Government’s Department of Health have set out guidelines for all individuals as a minimum target of activity per week. Some of the important recommendations that we want to highlight include:
- “Older people should be active every day, in as many ways as possible, doing a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility”.
- “Older people should accumulate at least 30minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days”.
- “Older people who have stopped physical activity or who are starting a new physical activity, should start at a level that is easily manageable and gradually build up the recommended amount, type and frequency of activity” (Australian Government, 2013).
These above points provide a general overview of what the government deems to be satisfactory for older individuals performing physical activity – however they are not overly specific. As this is the case, please refer to dot points 1-3, and speak with your trainers regarding any further questions you may have about the amount of exercise you should be completing each week. Also remember to pay attention to how your body is feeling, and always give yourself enough time to recover by resting, consuming nutritious foods, and remaining hydrated.
By Stephanie Harris