Setting a goal to get in shape is great. But, it’s important to remember that more doesn’t always mean better when it comes to exercise. When we exercise we stress different systems in our body, which causes fatigue but also leads to adaptations and improvement. That improvement only happens with a combination of recovery and repetition. We need to give the body enough time to recover and ‘adapt’, between sessions. This golden amount of time differs depending on the type of exercise you do. Here’s how often you should exercise when it comes to a few popular sports.
When practicing endurance sports like running or biking it’s best to perform most of your workout at low intensity. That way the body uses oxygen more effectively, and the exercise gets easier over time. If you plan to add in a few higher intensity sessions, make sure there is a minimum of 48 hours between them.
Skill Based Sports
Many sports, such as tennis or martial arts, require a combination of physical and technical skills. While more research is needed on the topic, it’s generally thought that consistent practice improves performance in this type of sport. But note that when we do the same type of training repeatedly overuse injuries can happen. Try to balance intense days, easier days, and recovery days evenly.
Generally, muscle strengthening exercises should be done on two or more days per week to improve muscle and bone health. Keep in mind, however, that lifting at your absolute maximum until you simply can’t go on—known as lifting to failure—doesn’t actually provide any additional benefits. Make sure you work on different muscle groups each session and listen to your body when it needs rest.