Some people spend hours at the gym several times a week, while others barely have the time and energy to fit in one session. But both types of gym-goers can be equally frustrated by not seeing results. So what’s the ultimate sweet spot when it comes to how often a person should work out?
The answer to that depends on different factors, such as the physical activity you choose to do. Physical activity is defined as “any bodily movement produced by the contraction of skeletal muscle that increases energy expenditure above a basal level,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Exercise is a “planned, structured, repetitive” form of physical activity that’s performed with the goal of improving health or fitness.
“Although all exercise is physical activity, not all physical activity is exercise,” the department explains.
Of course some physical activity is better than none but “regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity” reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes, the HHS says.
How Many Days a Week Do I Need to Workout?
How often a person should work out will depend on the fitness level of the individual as well as their fitness goals, from losing weight to building muscle.
It’s good to aim for at least 30 minutes of “moderate physical activity every day,” according to the Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Edward Laskowski, who is certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.
For those who don’t have time, even “brief bouts of activity” offers health benefits. So, you can swap a 30-minute walk during the day with several five-minute walks instead, he says.
However, “if you want to lose weight, maintain weight loss or meet specific fitness goals, you may