How Often Should I Be Exercising?

woman stretching outdoors

I’m an active person.  I like to tell people about that on this blog, because I’m a Doctor of Chiropractic, so I feel it’s important to set a good example.

Maybe it’s better to say that I should practice what I preach because I spend a lot of time telling my patients they need to get more exercise.

The question in the title is a popular one in my office.  “How often should I be exercising?” and it’s a question that I answer variously.

Every human body is different.  We’re all based on the same design with notable differences.  We have different heredities and physical challenges.  We’re different ages.  So, this question demands some nuance.

A Little Every Day

This is the kind of advice I give to people with mobility problems, post-operative patients in rehabilitation and patients who are seeking to add more activity to their lives.

Nothing happens overnight.  You need to give your body a chance to catch up to your ambitions.  If you’ve had surgery, are struggling with long term mobility challenges, or haven’t been active for a long time, your body needs to get stronger gradually to prevent injury.

For example, people who are accustomed to driving everywhere can walk instead.  They can take the stairs instead of the elevator (or even just the last 5 flights if it’s a high rise).

Body Weight Exercise

People continue to have the idea that good health is incumbent on countless hours in the gym or on the track, but with body weight exercises, you can truncate your routine into bite size pieces that have the effect of maintaining muscle strength for a minimum investment of time.

Do planks, wall presses, bridges and burpees one day for 20 minutes 30 minutes of fast walking, cycling or swimming the next.  4 or 5 days per week should be enough to maintain strength and cardiovascular capacity.

For Weight Loss

Enduring weight loss is a profound lifestyle change.  It’s not “keto” or any diets-of-the-moment.  It’s about resolving to change the way you think about eating, it’s role in your life and your relationship to it.

Weight loss, in addition to dietary adjustments, requires that you engage in about 300 minutes of exercise per week.

That’s just 4 hours per week.  Not a lot to ask of yourself.

And the good news is that you can log that easily, just by parking the car and choosing to walk at a brisk pace.  By making better food choices, cutting portion sizes and upping the exercise quotient, you will gradually get it off.  Guaranteed.

Exercise is a highly individual thing.  Doing what you like is key, but there are other variables, like who you are.  So, consider this a capsule version of some of the advice I’ve given my patients in the past.

Back & Body Medical

Back & Body is a team of clinical professionals.  My chiropractic care is supported by acupuncture, sports medicine and physical therapy at our award-winning Manhattan clinic.

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