Saturday, 10 March 2012

How Much Exercise?

How much exercise should we do each week?

A major question with regards to fitness and health is how much exercise should we do. Well, the answer really does depend on what the goals are, and even then the answer can vary. In this blog we will look to answer these questions. According to a report from the UK government, only 37 per cent of men and 24 per cent of women complete enough exercise to see any benefit.

General health and fitness

For general health and fitness there are a wide variety of guidelines available to suggest how much exercise we need to do. The NHS seems to offer a reasonable answer to this question. It is suggested that we should attempt to be physically active each day, and try to complete two and a half hours of exercise per week. On top of this we should attempt to include two days (at least) of muscle building exercise, exercise each muscle group. However, these numbers appear to only apply to the average adult and so people who are older, younger, overweight, underweight and so on may need to increase or decrease the amount of exercise they do in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


When we are looking to improve our fitness for other physical activities, like team sports, it is important that we do more than the required amounts for general health and fitness. To improve our fitness levels we must be looking at cardio-vascular training along with some strength training and flexibility training.

Muscle building

If our goal is to build muscle then our focus changes a great deal with regards to our exercise requirements. Two days a week weight lifting will not have us looking like Arnie in his hey day. I would suggest keeping the cardio exercise levels similar, mainly for the health benefits that we will get from it, but we must increase the days of muscle building exercise in order to really bulk up our muscle mass.For muscle building it is essential that the muscles have a rest period to recover, so if we work the arms one day we should give them at least one day off in between in order for them to recover and grow.

Losing weight

Although losing weight is as much about diet as it is about exercise, the amount of physical effort we put in has a major effect on weight loss. The key to weight loss is burning more calories than we consume so we must bear this in mind when deciding on how much exercise we are going to do. Obviously, the more exercise we do, the more calories we burn off.

So, the short answer to the question of how much exercise we need to do is that it varies depending on the goals we have and what we wish to achieve from exercise. From the basic levels of exercise that we need to live healthy lives we can adapt our routine to meet the goals that we want, whether that be improved fitness, muscle gain and/or weight loss. It is important to note that we must also watch our diet when looking to meet any of these goals.


  1. I think that this is good advice. I guess that how often we exercise is massively important. I like that you seperated the differences between how much to exercise for general fitness and how much to exercise for other goals.