You’ve accepted the fact that if you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to up your game in terms of exercise. Some of us love to work out. Others aren’t as fond of having to head to the gym every evening or get up early to run every morning. Whether it’s your favorite activity or not, it’s necessary. Fortunately, many people find that the more they exercise, the more they love it. But how much is necessary if you’re doing it with a weight loss goal in mind.
There are three kinds of exercise most of us should be doing for our health, regardless of whether we want to lose weight, maintain or even gain. These are cardio, strength training, and flexibility (such as yoga).
Cardio is often the top focus for dieters because it is the type of workout that burns the most calories and fats. But how much cardio do you need if you want to lose weight? It would be great if there were a simple, straight-forward answer to that question. That said, there are several different factors to consider to gain an accurate answer.
To start, you need to remember the fact that you need to run your body at a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight. Therefore, the amount you’ll need to burn will have a lot to do with how many calories you’re eating. The more calories you eat, the more you’ll need to burn in order to keep yourself losing weight. If you’re not sure how many calories you eat in the average day, it’s a good idea to start using a diet and exercise tracker like ShareFit to find out.
That said, if you’re eating an appropriate number of calories – not too few but not too many, either – then the National Institutes of Health recommends that you do cardio workouts three to five times per week. These workouts should be of moderate intensity and should each be at least 30 to 45 minutes long. Ideally, you shouldn’t do two consecutive days of cardio workouts as you will need to give your body time in the middle to recover. Otherwise, you will place your body at risk of injury which will only hold back your progress.
During the days off, you can always focus on other fitness goals such as yoga or strength training. That said, if you do want to maximize the number of cardio days you do per week – that is, if you want to do five days of cardio per week – be sure to alternate between high- and low-intensity workouts. That way, you’ll give your body adequate recovery time while still getting the maximum number of fat burning workouts into your schedule.