How Much Exercise?

I often get questions like "What is the ideal exercise program?" This has been especially so since I published my recent exercise and lifestyle book, "[;_ylt=Ag.lrNSnh6F1BAWmwQC.4RAbFt0A;_ylu=X3oDMTBic2hxMGNhBGx0AzQEc2VjA3Ny?clink=dmps/dinubile/ctx=mid:1,pid:3004310415,pdid:1,pos:1,spc:14489115,date:20051007,srch:kw,x: FrameWork]," which I wrote for a wide range of exercisers who I'm sure have varied schedules, and many of them are already doing something else, like running, biking, or lifting. I knew one workout schedule or program would not work for everyone. That's why I intentionally gave some mix-and-match options as part of the program design. Everybody is a little different (in terms of goals and interests) and every body is certainly different (in terms of body type, ailments, injuries, tolerance, etc.).

The exercise component of the "FrameWork" program, which involves a unique blend of cardio, core, strength, and flexibility exercises, can be done three times a week (i.e. every other day, not on consecutive days). That would give most participants a balanced exercise program. Does your exercise program include those four essential components?

But as I implied, one size doesn't always fit all, and this is particularly true of exercise which more often than not needs customization.

Here are some general tips to consider when evaluating your exercise routines:

  • For optimal health, cardio work should be at least three times a week (more is OK, but watch out for overtraining and overuse injuries)
  • Weight training at least two times a week (never work the same muscle groups two days in a row unless it is lower-intensity exercise like rehab exercises)
  • Core work should be two to three times a week, but you can safely do it every day (unless you are exhausting yourself with super high-intensity training)
  • Stretching can safely be done every day (and some "tighter" individuals really need it every day, especially for certain "tight" muscle groups)
  • Try to be "active" every day, with a variety of activities (avoid the couch at all cost)

It's important for overall health to be active for at least 30 to 60 minutes, most days of the week. Believe it or not, only about 10 percent of the population meets this modest (i.e. minimum daily requirement) goal. It's also important that you customize your workouts based on your particular needs, goals, preferences, available equipment and resources, and unique musculoskeletal makeup (including past or present injuries and/or ailments).

Remember, one size does not fit all when it comes to exercise, so be sure your program is right for you. This is especially true if you are working with a personal trainer or fitness professional, who should be able to re-design your program to re-engineer your body in a safe and effective way.