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Workout Tips

This section of our health library is devoted to – you guessed it – workout tips! Learn about all things fitness in these articles that are designed to help you get up and get moving, regardless of your physical ability.

How Long Should I Work Out For? The Answer May Surprise you



How Long Should I Work Out For? The Answer May Surprise you

Common exercise excuses: I don’t have time. It’s hard to make time. I’m not in shape. I can’t last very long at the gym. If I can’t make time, what’s the point?

We’ve all come across those excuses at least once in our lifetimes —and if you haven’t—you’re not human.

What if we told you that we could bust those exercise excuses wide open? That’s right. You can make time. You can last longer and there is always a point to working out—even if it’s only for 5 minutes.

“But how long should I work out for?” is one of the most common questions in the fitness world and that answer is entirely up to you. Continue reading to find out why.

A recent article from the New York Times prompted this debate: How long should I work out for? 3 short work outs or 1 long one?

First, let’s determine the difference between exercise and physical activity.

According to bistroMD fitness expert and Doctor of Physical Therapy, Sean Wells, exercise is planned and progressive—like trading stocks.

Physical activity is any body movement that works your muscles—walking to your co-worker’s office, walking to the printer, walking to work, taking the stairs, etc. It is not planned and it doesn’t help you progress to the next fitness level as easily as good old fashioned exercise will.

So, now that you know physical activity is NOT exercise—how long should you work out for?—3 short workouts or 1 long one?

“Overall, shorter workouts are better—but a longer one will better increase your endurance,” Wells said. “With increments, you can reach a higher intensity because you don’t have to go for as long—your heart rate will get higher and you’ll burn calories faster.”

The average American’s schedule is pretty hectic. It’s hard enough to balance work with a social life, throw in a family or a relationship and you’ve reached your full capacity.

But what about time for yourself? That’s a pretty dang important chunk of time to consider. With our busy schedules, we need to make more “us” time so we can recharge and get back out there and conquer the world.

You can find 10 or 15 minute increments to exercise, I promise you. Do it on your lunch break. We all need to get up and walk away every once in a while. Why not go for a nice, brisk power walk to help unclutter your brain?

“Shorter exercises may be easier to bite off for some people,” said Wells.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Shorter exercises are easier to handle because you don’t have to push yourself for a long time. The rest period of 10 minutes or so is just enough time to regroup and get back into your fitness.

However, it can also be a double-edged sword for some people. Find out what works better for you and your lifestyle. If working out during breakfast, lunch and dinner time works for you then stick with it. If you’re prone to forget, stay at the gym during your rest periods and get in your fitness that way.

Sean recommends 10 minutes of cardio followed by 15 minutes of strength training and 10 more minutes of cardio. That way you’ll get it all done and you won’t forget to do it later!

No matter what you do, or how long you work out for, it’s important to keep yourself moving throughout the day. Walk to work or ride your bike. Park further away and take an extra few minutes to walk through the parking lot. Skip the elevator and take the stairs. Walk to the store. Walk around your community. Be creative. There are tons of things to do to get your body moving!

By moving more, you’re allowing the blood to flow to different parts of your body—and that’s a good thing. Your body likes that!

So, how long should you work out for? That is totally up to you!

Remember, however, that regular exercise is nothing without good, healthy food to go along with it

Think of food as gasoline. Gasoline fuels your car and allows it to move. Healthy food fuels your body and allows it to function the way it should.

Think about it—do you ever feel sluggish and tired (for no reason) after eating processed food—fast food, most restaurant food and prepackaged food from the grocery store? That’s because you’re not eating properly. When you eat healthy food, you’ll feel better and notice increased energy levels.

If you’re looking for something fast and convenient without the hassle of frequenting the grocery store, bistroMD offers a diet delivery program that can help you successfully shed the pounds.

We cook with the freshest ingredients and have over 200 recipes and a customizable menu so you should have no problem finding something to satisfy your taste buds.

Every bite you take follows this proven approach for healthy weight loss. Our program provides 1,100-1,400 calories daily with 40-50% total caloric intake from lean, adequate protein, 20-25% of calories from healthy fats, and 30-35% from complex carbohydrates.

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