Illustration by Chi Birmingham

How Much is Enough Exercise?

Cardio or weight training? Pilates or HIIT? Gym or home workouts? With so much information online these days about which types of exercises are supposedly the most effective, and how long you should be doing these workouts for, it can be confusing to say the least.

After all, if you’ve plucked up the courage to grab your trainers and head out on that run, having to worry about whether what you’re doing constitutes ‘enough’ is not ideal. Unfortunately, there is no standardised way of measuring the appropriate amount of exercise, as this very much varies depending on your individual needs.

However, knowing what your goals are, and what you’re aiming to achieve from exercise, is a great place to start — and will assure you that what you’re doing is going to benefit you in the long run.

For losing weight

In conjunction with eating a low-calorie diet, studies have shown that as little as 21–42 minutes per day of moderate-intensity exercise will be enough to see substantial changes in body weight. So whether it’s taking your dog for a long walk, or sweating it out in the gym on the treadmill for half an hour, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your target.

Improving overall fitness

One of the quickest ways to improve your fitness levels is by getting involved in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). An entire HIIT workout usually averages at around 15–20 minutes and involves working in quick bursts of high intensity (for example, squat jumps, burpees and short sprints).

Research has proven that 3 sessions per week of 30 minute high intensity exercise can significantly improve your VO2 max levels, (the optimum rate at which the heart, lungs and muscles can effectively use oxygen during exercise), resulting in it being easier to exercise for longer.

Not only does this form of exercise allow you to workout within the comfort of your own home, but it’s also a great option for those who want to get their workouts over with quickly and move on with the rest of their day.

To manage stress levels

This form of exercise also helps to improve your strength, flexibility and balance, making it an all-round winner when deciding which type of training best suits you. After all, when you think about it, doing a few controlled stretches and breathing exercises are fairly easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

One thing to bear in mind, however, is that most forms of yoga are not strenuous enough to be your only form of exercise, and tend to work best when done as well as other, more active forms of training.

You do you…

Written by Helen Dubber
WellBe is spearheading the way to a brighter future for corporate wellness. Our innovative portal is scientifically designed and tailored to each individual employee to improve their wellbeing. We specialise in a range of services from coaching and therapists, to meditation and reading materials. Our aim is to reduce workplace stress that costs UK businesses £42 billion per year. Get in touch with us by visiting our site for more information.

Discover and access health and wellbeing services based on your needs.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store