How Many Days a Week Should You Work Out?
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
You know there’s research and you know your doctor wants you to work out, but starting a new exercise routine can be challenging if you don’t know where to begin. One of the foundational aspects of developing a workout routine you’ll actually stick with is setting a realistic goal for how many days per week you’ll exercise.
While the exact number of days isn’t hard science, there are some ways to figure out what works for you and what will be most beneficial. After all, if you work out too much, you’ll end up fatigued and even possibly injured.
Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of working out, the two different types of exercise you need, and how often you need it.
Why Should I Work Out?
How many times has January 1st rolled around for you to find you saying to yourself, “I’ve really got to start working out so I can lose a few pounds?” Exercise is our go-to for losing weight, more so than starting a healthy eating routine.
Exercise will, of course, help you with achieving a healthy weight, but you’ll get many more benefits from consistent exercise that are far more important to your health. Here are just a few.
Can Reduce Inflammation
We hear a lot about inflammation today, and how it relates to common diseases. It is hypothesized that low levels of chronic inflammation in our bodies lead to deadly and debilitating diseases, like type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and even cancer.
Exercise and its ability to reduce these levels of inflammation has been studied profusely. Research shows that exercise decreases levels of inflammatory markers, like C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). A higher circulation of these inflammatory markers is linked to many different diseases. A reduction in these markers can reduce your likelihood of developing these diseases.
It’s not breaking news that exercise is one of the best ways to maintain your cardiovascular health, but what is new news is just how much exercise equates to good heart health.
Though it has long been held that approximately 150 minutes of heart-pumping exercise per week was sufficient to maintain heart health, new research places the goal somewhere closer to 210 minutes per week.
It should be noted that too much cardiovascular exercise can place undue stress on the heart, which means finding your exercise sweet spot is all that more important for your health and success.
Working Out Helps You Age Backwards
Yes, aging backward is possible, though not chronologically like you might think. Your biological age is the age of your body determined by your birthdate age and the actual health of your cells.
Biological aging is measured by taking into consideration your chronological age and measuring it against the way your body behaves. In other words, if you are only 30, but regularly eat poorly, don’t exercise, and smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, you’re likely much older than 30 in biological terms.
Exercise helps you biologically age backward. It is associated with longer telomeres, which are markers on your chromosomes that naturally get shorter with time. Telomeres are a good indication of your cellular age.
In people who exercise regularly, telomeres are longer than in people who do not exercise, indicating that their body is biologically younger than their birth age.
We all feel better when we exercise more, and there’s a scientific reason why. Until recently, it was thought that the brain couldn’t regenerate new cells. We now know that through the process of neurogenesis, the brain can create new cells and continue to grow. Studies show that exercise can help stimulate the brain’s process of neurogenesis.
Exercise also helps alleviate symptoms of depression and can be beneficial in reducing the risk of becoming depressed.
Lastly, exercise can change the way the brain ages. While the brain normally shrinks with age, exercise can facilitate a brain that grows over time.
Healthy Weight Management
One of the main reasons you want to work out is to maintain a healthier weight. The science of weight gain and loss is complex, but at the root is the study of caloric intake versus caloric expenditure. Fundamentally, you must expend more calories than you take in to lose weight.
Exercise can be a vital part of a healthy weight loss plan, but it must be accompanied by a healthy eating plan. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.
Two Different Types of Working Out
You know the benefits of exercise, but are you familiar with the two distinct types of exercise? No, we don’t mean the difference between spin class and yoga, we mean the difference between strength training and cardiovascular exercise. There are variations and methods of achieving each, and you need both every week for a complete workout routine.
Strength training involves the use of resistance to build muscle, increase load-bearing capacity, and fuel endurance. Strength training might best be described as weight training, although simple body-weight exercises can offer strength training benefits.
Strength training usually involves much less cardiovascular output, or short intervals of cardiovascular exercise. Instead, you’ll focus on lifting weights or using resistance bands to build muscle and increase your overall strength.
Strength training helps increase your bone density, build muscles that protect your body from injury, and helps strengthen joints and tendons to keep your body strong.
Also referred to as aerobic exercise, cardiovascular exercise involves increasing your heart rate over an extended period of time. Cardio exercise builds strong lungs and improves your heart’s ability to efficiently pump blood through your body.
Cardiovascular exercise is another component of working out, but you need both strength training and cardiovascular exercise in your workout programming.
How Many Days Per Week Should I Work Out?
There’s no one size fits all number that will tell you how many days per week is ideal for working out. Normally, once you start a workout program, you’ll find you fall into a comfortable routine that works for the time you have and the goals you’d like to achieve.
If you’re still lost, here’s a quick start guide.
- What are your goals? Is your goal to lose weight by a certain date? What about running a marathon? Perhaps you’d like to increase your overall strength. Determining your goals will help you decide the focus of your workouts and how frequently you should do them.
- When will you rest? Every workout program needs at least one rest day. Make sure you structure your workouts (and your week) so that you’re able to get ample rest when needed.
- What are the recommendations? Some of us like a rulebook, and there are guidelines available for working out. Keeping in mind that exercise will be different for everyone, governmental guidelines suggest working out between 150-300 minutes per week, and ensuring there is a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training in your routine.
If you’re just starting out, try establishing a three-day-a-week program and building on it as you are able to maintain it. Feeling defeated or like you won’t be able to keep up with a new workout program can be detrimental to your success.
Can Supplements Help?
No pill can replace exercise, but there are some supplements that can help you achieve your health and wellness goals and even help keep your cells younger than your chronological age.
Pentadecanoic acid, also known as C15:0, is an odd-chain, saturated fatty acid that a growing body of research indicates is the first essential fatty acid to have been discovered in over 90 years.†
C15:0 helps keep your cells strong and youthful, which can lead to stronger organs and better functioning bodily systems.*
By deep-diving into your cells, C15:0 gives your cells the chance to age more slowly.† Here’s how:*
- C15:0 helps strengthen cell membranes. As we get older, our cell membranes become flimsy and weak. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that integrates into cell walls to keep them fortified.
- C15:0 helps boost mitochondrial function. The powerhouses of our cells can become sluggish over time. C15:0 helps supercharge them so your cells have the energy they need to carry out cellular function.
- C15:0 helps balance your immunity. Aging can often go hand in hand with getting sicker. Immunity can become unbalanced and leave us feeling unhealthy. C15:0 helps bring immunity back into homeostasis.
- C15:0 supports cardiovascular health. What can you do along with diet and exercise to keep your heart healthy? Take C15:0. It supports cardiovascular health and can help you become less likely to develop age-related cardiovascular illness.
You can get C15:0 in your diet by taking a simple, once-a-day supplement called fatty15. Fatty15 is the pure, vegan powder form of pentadecanoic acid, FA15™.
Just one simple capsule a day can give you the ability to age on your own terms.†*
Hit the Gym!
No matter how many days a week you decide to work out, make sure you’re mixing strength training and cardiovascular exercise for best results.
When you’re ready to support your exercise program and get even better results, fatty15 is the supplement that can improve your health at the cellular level.
Sources:Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition | 2018|health.Gov
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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