Exercise Much?

Who doesn’t love a good heart-racing workout?  A relaxing yoga session?  A core-building Pilates class?

Well, according to a new study, we should only be exercising 4 times a week.  Let me explain…

Today’s New York Times features a blog post: Getting the Right Does of Exercise.  Why Four Workouts a Week May be Better than Six.  

What?

Key things to point out here – the study features women, exercise was not already a “normal” part of their routine, the women were age 60-74.

For the new study, published this month in Exercise & Science in Sports & Medicine, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham gathered 72 older, sedentary women and randomly assigned them to one of three exercise groups:

1.  1 day/week aerobic activity, 1 day/week strength training (2 days/week)

2.  2 days/week aerobic activity, 2 days/week strength training (4 days/week)

3.  3 days/week aerobic activity, 3 days/week strength training (6 days/week)

Aerobic activity was 40 minutes of aerobic exercise at 80% maximum heart rate and resistance training was 2 sets of 10 repetitions for 10 different exercises at 80% of one repetition maximum.

The results?  All of the women gained endurance and muscle strength and there was no fitness capacity difference between the groups.  The women who worked out 4 days/week were expending more energy overall–burning more calories throughout the day.  The women who worked out 6 days/week were expending less energy (about 200 calories) each day than when the study began.  These women did not report feeling run down, rather, they reported feeling pressed for time to fit in exercise each day.

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

It’s interesting to read the science but I still go by the do what feels best approach.  I hope when I’m 74 I’m still working out at least 4 days/week!

Thoughts on 2/4/6 days?  What’s today’s workout?
What health/fitness news did you read today?

A quick blog note–I’ll be moving to self-hosted by next week.  I know sometimes the WordPress migration means followers don’t migrate.  So if you’re signed up to follow the blog via email and next week you’re not receiving emails, I hope you’ll check back and sign up again!

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14 responses

  1. Most weeks I only work out 4 times, but when I do work out I feel so much better all day, so even if it doesn’t help my body to work out 2 extra days, it definitely helps my soul!

  2. I wonder if the people exercising 6x a week haven’t given their bodies enough time to fully recover so they really are exercising at a lower capacity than they think? Not sure. I’m no where NEAR that but I do always feel great when I exercise. Although maybe it’s more a sense of accomplishment than anything physical.

  3. That’s a very interesting study. Right now, I can handle working out five or six days a week, and I’ll double-up most of the time; it makes the full rest day(s) that much sweeter. Hopefully, I’m still hitting the gym when I’m 74! 🙂

  4. I try to get in at least 5 workouts a week, sometimes it is more, sometimes it is less. I think an important thing to remember is to not stress myself out trying to find time for fitness. For me, I listen to my body and do what feels right for the day!

  5. Also, google reader is a good place to have people add you and still follow you 🙂

    I work out 3-4 days a week because thats all I have time for! And the other days I still walk my dog and stretch, but dog walks are more like ‘stop and sniffs’ than aerobic walking… Also, I love my rest days 🙂 Interesting post!

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