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How Long Should A Workout Be? Glad you asked. We have great answers.

“How long should I workout?” This is a very common question people who are new to exercising have. Seeing results can take some time, but we will go over different components that contribute to how much time you should spend working out. 

“How long should I workout?” This is a very common question people who are new to exercising have. Seeing results can take some time, but we will go over different components that contribute to how much time you should spend working out. 

Fitness level

If you are brand new and already want to spend hours at a time in the gym, this can actually be detrimental to your health rather than helpful. Pushing your body too far poses a greater risk for injury and burnout. Instead, starting with short workouts, such as 30 minutes or less, will help you build confidence and comfortability with your new routine and demands you are putting on your body. Then, as you progress, you can work your way up into the range of 45 to 90 minutes. Also, someone with more experience and muscle will need more warm-up sets than a beginner, which lengthens the workout in comparison.

Rest Time

Many strength-training exercises require extra rest time between sets to rest, recover, and prepare for the next set. Rest time has a lot to contribute to the duration of time spent at the gym as a whole because even though your weightlifting session may be 40 minutes, it involves 20 minutes of rest and 20 minutes of actual exercise. This makes it somewhat difficult to calculate an exact time for how long a workout should be.

Type of workout

The duration of the workout relies heavily on the intensity of exercise. High-intensity exercises should be performed for less amounts of time where low-intensity exercises are designed to be performed for a longer period of time. How hard you want to push yourself and how much time you have in your schedule are important things to consider when formulating your workout plan and schedule. Many experts recommend switching between type, intensity, and duration of workouts to see the best results from working all muscle groups. 75-150 minutes of aerobic activity and two 20 minute strength training sessions per week are recommended by the American Heart Association. All together, that forms a 40 minute workout to be done three or four times a week, but remember if 40 minutes sounds like too much to start with, take it down to 30 or 15 minutes. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found that even if you only have time for a 10 minute workout, it will still prove effective in improving your health.

Fitness goal

Whether you are exercising to train for a 5K, lose weight, or relieve stress, your goal behind your fitness session also can help you decide how long you should be working out. For example, to lose weight at a healthy rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week, you should burn 500-1,000 more calories than you consume each day. This calculates to about 150 to 200 minutes of exercise each week. However, a great thing about formulating your own workout plan is you can schedule it out however you want! For gaining strength, 30 to 60 minutes is recommended each day as well as 30 to 60 minutes of flexibility stretching before and after exercise. Also as mentioned previously, for general health maintenance, 75-150 minutes of aerobic physical activity is recommended per week. 

Final important note:

Although we have spent the majority of this blog talking about time durations in which you should complete a variety of exercises, fitness is not quite about the quantity of time you are working out for, but rather the quality of work you are putting into it. The questions you should be asking yourself instead are: Am I working hard? How's my breathing? Is my heart rate elevated? If you spend your allotted “workout time” searching for equipment or looking for a good song to pair with your run, it doesn’t contribute to how much you will see and feel results. So at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the quality of the exercise being performed at the best level of your capability and that your fitness program is custom designed to fit your body and your goals. So, the short answer to the question “How long should a workout be?” is whatever amount of time is needed for your programmed workouts to be completed properly, safely, and to the best of your ability. As long as you keep this in mind when planning a fitness schedule, your workout will be exactly as long as it needs to be. 

We hope this helped. Enjoy your next workout!

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About the Author:

Abigail is a 2nd year student at the University of Texas at Austin studying sports medicine. She's originally from Long Beach, California and loves being active. Her true passion for fitness shows and she couldn't be more thankful to get to share this excitement with readers seeking insight on a variety of health related topics.




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