How Many Days a Week Should You Work Out? Here’s What Trainers Say

Starting a regular exercise routine involves knowing what to do and when to do it, and the latter often means answering the frequently asked question: How many days in the week should I exercise?

Starting a regular exercise routine involves knowing what to do and when to do it, and the latter often means answering the frequently asked question: How many days in the week should I exercise?

According to health experts, the ideal exercise schedule includes a combination of strength training and aerobic exercise throughout the week. However, the right amount for you depends on your fitness goals, activity level, age, and more. At the end of the day, the best weekly workout plan for you is one, with which you can be consistent. First things first, there are no one-size-fits-all answers to all these questions.

It really depends on your fitness level, your goals, and how much time you can realistically dedicate to exercising. For example, the best weekly training schedule for an experienced marathon runner trying to set a new personal best looks very different than a weightlifting routine for a beginner trying to build muscle and strength. Well, that’s okay.

That means unless you have super-specific fitness goals, you might just want to increase your overall strength and endurance to feel better and get through everyday life more easily.

Regular Exercise Is Great

Regular exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle. However, you may be wondering how much exercise you need in any given week to get the most benefits.

According to multiple studies, the ideal exercise program is a balance of cardio and strength training. The guidelines for strength training involve 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for at least 20 minutes three days per week. You should also do strength training twice a week.

The basic practice depends on your age. For example, some studies define moderate-intensity physical activity as an activity that increases your heart rate by 50% to 70%. Your maximum rate, while vigorous physical activity accounts for about 70% to 85% of your maximum rate. Your ideal target heart rate changes as you start to age. Twenty-year-olds have a higher one (100-170 beats per minute) than 50-year-olds (85-145 beats per minute). This means that less intense exercise can still have a big impact as you age.

As we age, strength training also becomes more important for bone health. When you age, you lose muscle mass, say, several orthopaedists. It’s important to recognize that. Strength training, weight training, and jogging are all high-impact activities that improve your bone health and reduce your risk of fractures. Make sure to speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise program

What Counts as Exercise?

Because exercise is about moving your body, many activities count as exercise. Gardening, dancing, any kind of cleaning around the house, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, shovelling snow – all this is movement. Doing the laundry is also movement because it involves heavy lifting.

Strength training can also be easily integrated into your everyday life. Resistance bands, canned corn, or soup – anything you can grab to increase your endurance is helpful in the daily activities you already do.

When you’re doing the dishes, you can stand on one leg for 30 seconds, then switch off and stand on the other. This helps improve your balance. We know that balance is just as important as we age.

How Often Should I Exercise and What Should I Do?

How often you exercise depends on your fitness experience and the time you have available away. For example, if you’re new to exercise, start with a smaller goal, like walking 10,000 steps a day at least five days a week. Or, if your schedule just doesn’t allow you to work out five days a week, aim for three days and see if you can make those sessions a little more intense.

You might also want to change the types of exercises you do over those five days. If you can, aim for two to three days of cardio and spend the other two to three days doing strength training. If you exercise less during the week, you can combine strength and cardio these days (think 20 minutes of jogging followed by 25 minutes of strength training). High-intensity interval training (HIIT) or circuit training can also help break down time while still giving your body a good sweat session.

While It’s Tempting to Think That

Different fitness goals depend on different workouts. Remember, whether you’re looking to lose weight or build strength, it’s crucial to incorporate both cardio and strength training or strength training into your exercise routine.

Ultimately, you can limit what you enjoy most by how you plan your workout and what you do for that workout. If you like dancing and riding a bike, do it. If you enjoy your workout, you will sweat more and get results.

How Many Days per Week Should I Exercise for the Best Results?

In an ideal world, you should do 5-6 days per week of training for getting the best results. These workouts should include a combination of strength training and cardiovascular exercises. The more variety you have in your workouts, the better.

How Many Days a Week Should I Train to Build Muscle?

Strength training for 3-4 days a week is usually enough to build muscle. You can also train 4-5 days a week and split your muscles (e.g., chest/arms, back/abs, and lower body) on different days. If you want to build muscle, the intensity of your training is more important than the frequency of your training. For hypertrophy, lift heavy weights with fewer reps. Diet is equally important; Make sure you’re consuming enough protein and total calories to support muscle growth.

How Can Beginners Make Exercise a Habit?

It can be helpful to set an achievable goal of how often each week you will exercise. Doing a workout will ensure you don’t burn out. Trying a little exercise each day, even if you’re not actually exercising, can also help you get to form an exercise habit that you can stick to. This can be a 10-minute walk or a series of gentle stretches.

Another Important Consideration Is Timing the Exercise

Again, there is no right answer, but it’s helpful to take a close look at your schedule to determine when to log your workouts. For example, if your mornings are very hectic and many last-minute changes are made, scheduling morning workouts can be counterproductive.

In such cases, an afternoon or evening is more likely to be found the best workout time to go ahead as planned. Also, you need to take care of your body too. Some people feel more energetic in the morning, while others are exhausted. By timing your exercise time around when you feel most comfortable, you can increase the chances that you’ll want to keep going.

What Is a Good Workout Routine?

A good workout routine will depend on your individual goals, but if you’re looking for overall fitness, there should be one – strength training and cardio. If you want to work out five days a week and work on both strength and cardio, try three days of weight training, two days of cardio, and two days of active recovery. If you want to work out four days a week, think about your goals: If you want to build muscle, cut down on one cardio day. If you want to improve your endurance, skip a strength day or change it every week.

Remember, it’s important to be realistic about your schedule when you’re wondering how many days in the week you should exercise. If four days make more sense to you than five days, do it. If five days is reasonable, great!

Strength Training: 2 or 3 Times a Week

Strength training is a very important measure to keep your body efficient in the long term. They help prevent bone loss and muscle wasting that comes with aging. Also, they strengthen your joints. To build muscle mass, you should aim to train each muscle group 2-3 times a week. Hence, on a 2-3 day strength plan, you should aim for full-body exercises.

You should work for all the major muscle groups in your upper and lower body, including the glutes, quads, hamstrings, chest, shoulders, back, and arms, and don’t forget to include some core exercises as well. That might sound like a lot, but that’s where compound exercises come in. Movements like squats, lunges, rows, and chest presses work for more than one muscle group at a time, giving you more bang for your buck. You also want a balance between pressing movements and pulling movements.

Remember, strength training isn’t just about free weights or machines — mastering bodyweight movements will test your muscles, too. Do 12 to 15 reps per set if you’re just starting. Once you’re more comfortable with the movements, you can decrease the reps as you add more weight. One or two sets of each exercise are enough for the first month, after which you may want to increase to three.

Factors Influencing How Often You Should Exercise

If you’re wondering how many days a week you should exercise, the ideal number depends on several factors, including the following:

#1: The Length of Your Workout

In most cases, the longer your workout, the fewer days a week you’ll need to work out. Exercising for one hour and three days a week is essentially equivalent to exercising six days a week for 30, minutes.

#2: The Intensity of Your Training

The more intensive your training is, the fewer training sessions per week you must do to achieve your fitness goals and physical activity needs.

For example, if you ride a stationary bike with low resistance and your heart rate stays below 70% of your maximum heart rate, the intensity and stress on your body will increase significantly less than when would be doing challenging high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with lots of resistance and would get out of the saddle. Give your body rest days between intense workouts to avoid overtraining.

#3: The Type of Exercise You Do

Exercise means physical stress and strain on the body, so one of the key factors that must be considered is, how often you should exercise and what type of exercise you want to include in your sessions.

High-impact activities, such as running and jumping, should generally be performed less frequently than low-impact exercises such as cycling, rowing, or swimming. The risk of injury increases if you train too often in high-impact activities, especially if you have a history of musculoskeletal injuries.

With weight training, you need to give your muscles adequate rest between sessions to allow muscle fibres to repair and rebuild stronger. If you’re doing full-body strength training routines, you should have at least a full day between workouts, which means you won’t be training more than four days a week.

On the other hand, if you’re doing split body part routines, focus on one or two groups more specifically by concentrating on muscles or areas of the body per workout (such as legs, chest, back, abs/core, and arms), you can train every day as you will be going through different muscle groups, allowing for several days of rest before returning to work muscles.

#4: Health and Fitness Goals

Your health and fitness goals play a big part in how often you should exercise each week. For example, if you want to exercise enough to lower your risk of lifestyle-related diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke, you’re likely to do fewer days per week as if you were trying to lose a significant amount of weight or training for a competitive athletic event.

Is It Bad to Exercise Every Day?

Rest days are on the schedule for a reason: working out every day is not a good plan if your goal is to improve your fitness over the long term. Exercising too much without giving your body the downtime it needs is like taking two steps forward and one step back.

Eventually, this move leads to a downtrend repeatedly just because you are so tired. Not taking a day off when you need it, especially if you over-train, then it can increase your risk of overuse injuries, decrease your performance, stifle your motivation, and take away the joy of an activity you once loved.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.