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How Many Days A Week Should You Exercise?

Last updated Nov. 16, 2016

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

Exercising at least 5 hours a week, along with strength training, has many health benefits. A good goal is to get 30 minutes of exercise each day, either at a single stretch or in short intervals.

Exercising is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Exercising can help prevent obesity and related health problems. The right amount of activity a week can vary for each individual. It is important to get cardiovascular and muscular exercise for the best health benefits.

According to research by Penn State and the University of Maryland, most Americans do not get the recommended weekly physical activity. The study found that most people only get two hours of exercise each week. This can be attributed to a society that is heavily reliant on automobile transportation, spends most of the day sitting at a desk, and spending a lot of time on the internet. By becoming aware of recommended daily activity and weekly exercise requirements, you can help prevent diseases related to obesity such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

For average adults between 19-64 years old, daily exercise is best. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and 2 days of strength training, or 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity and 2 days of strength training, or a combination of both moderate and vigorous exercise and at least 2 days of strength training per week (at a minimum).

Exercising at least 5 hours a week, along with strength training, can have even more health benefits. A good goal is to get 30 minutes of exercise each day, either at a single stretch or in short intervals.

The amount of exercise needed per day or per week can be adjusted based on each person’s personal fitness level and health goals. Be aware of how much you can do each day and try to improve your level of fitness progressively over time. It is important to not over exercise and injure oneself.

Suggested moderate aerobic exercises include:

  • Fast walking
  • Bike riding
  • Water aerobics
  • Hiking
  • Doubles tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball

Suggested intense aerobic exercise include:

  • Running
  • Jogging
  • Fast swimming
  • Fast biking
  • Single tennis
  • Football
  • Skipping rope
  • Aerobics

Daily exercise should be an important part of a healthy daily routine. It can be difficult to get started, and so it is important to try different types of exercise to find something you enjoy. Exercising does not have to be a boring task to be checked-off a list each day. If you find a fun and engaging exercise class, you may be more likely to stick with it.

Another way of making daily exercise more manageable is to split your daily exercise goals into short sessions that are taken throughout the day. Instead of a ten-minute break from work just browsing the Internet, do an exercise while you watch a video. Another great way to ensure daily exercise is to find a workout buddy. Having someone else to exercise with can make it more enjoyable, and you can encourage each other to stay motivated. Thus, there are many different ways to exercise, so find what works best for your daily routine. 


http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html (accessed on December 23, 2014)

http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/factsheetadults.aspx (accessed on December 23, 2014)

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/physical-activity-guidelines/ (accessed on December 23, 2014)

http://news.psu.edu/story/149052/2012/05/08/americans-fall-short-federal-exercise-recommendations (accessed on December 23, 2014)

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Dunn, A. L., Trivedi, M. H., Kampert, J. B., Clark, C. G., & Chambliss, H. O. (2005). Exercise treatment for depression: efficacy and dose response.American journal of preventive medicine, 28(1), 1-8.

Pollock, M. L., Franklin, B. A., Balady, G. J., Chaitman, B. L., Fleg, J. L., Fletcher, B., ... & Bazzarre, T. (2000). Resistance exercise in individuals with and without cardiovascular disease benefits, rationale, safety, and prescription an advisory from the committee on exercise, rehabilitation, and prevention, council on clinical cardiology, American Heart Association.Circulation, 101(7), 828-833.

Burgomaster, K. A., Howarth, K. R., Phillips, S. M., Rakobowchuk, M., MacDonald, M. J., McGee, S. L., & Gibala, M. J. (2008). Similar metabolic adaptations during exercise after low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance training in humans. The Journal of physiology, 586(1), 151-160.

Hamilton, M. T., Healy, G. N., Dunstan, D. W., Zderic, T. W., & Owen, N. (2008). Too little exercise and too much sitting: inactivity physiology and the need for new recommendations on sedentary behavior. Current cardiovascular risk reports, 2(4), 292-298.

Wanko, N. S., Brazier, C. W., Young-Rogers, D., Dunbar, V. G., Boyd, B., George, C. D., ... & Cook, C. B. (2003). Exercise preferences and barriers in urban African Americans with type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Educator, 30(3), 502-513.

Buckworth, J., & Nigg, C. (2004). Physical activity, exercise, and sedentary behavior in college students. Journal of American College Health, 53(1), 28-34.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Nov. 16, 2016
Last updated: Nov. 16, 2016