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How much exercise is enough in a day? Let’s find out

Published on:28 October 2020, 17:43pm IST
Exercising is great for your physical and mental health, but overdoing it is never a great idea. It’s time to figure out how much exercise is too much exercise!
Geetika Sachdev
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Is over-exercising a real thing? Image courtesy: Pexels

Exercise doesn’t just help us stay in shape but also has benefits like boosting the immune system and reducing stress levels. There’s no denying that moving your body is going to have a positive impact on your overall health.

There are various forms of exercise you can choose from — yoga, dance, swimming, jogging and cycling, among others. Each one has its unique benefits ranging from helping you build muscle to uplifting your mood.

While having a regular exercise regime is a great idea, overdoing it is a strict no-no! There’s no way you want to damage your body. That’s why it is important to understand how much is too much when it comes to working out. 

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This, however, does not negate the fact that exercising is extremely important for us. Let’s look at some of its benefits!

Why is exercise good for you?

Research suggests that exercise offers physical as well as mental health benefits. 

how much exercise is enough
Exercising is good for your mind as well as your body. Image courtesy: Shuttersock

When you move your body, your body releases happy hormones like serotonin that improve your mood. What’s more, exercising regularly also improves cardiovascular health, enhances metabolism, helps manage body weight, stabilises blood sugar levels, and reduces inflammation in the body. Additionally, exercising is particularly beneficial for those who want to strengthen their bones, muscles and joints.

How much exercise should you get?

The requirement of exercise for every person depends on a combination of factors such as body composition goals, age and overall health status. There’s one thing to remember: some form of exercise is better than none. Let that be your first ground rule. 

If you’re someone who is not accustomed to exercising, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity. Research suggests that 150 to 300 minutes of moderately intense activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity each week is required to stay healthy. It is equally critical to perform muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week. 

How much exercise is too much exercise?

You might think sweating it out in the gym for a couple of hours will do you a whole lot of good, but that’s not true! Every individual has a different threshold when it comes to working out. So, that should be a prime point of consideration. For example, athletes have to exercise for several hours a day because it is an integral part of their training program. However, you and I may not need to spend as much time at the gym.

how much exercise is enough
Overdoing exercise can make your muscles prone to injury. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

There’s also a different threshold for those who suffer from eating disorders. Research suggests that exercise guidelines will be different for those who have been diagnosed with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.

Here are some signs that might point towards over-exercising: 

  • Increased resting heart rate
  • Decreased appetite
  • Restless legs
  • Dehydration
  • Poor sleep quality or insomnia
  • Poor mood and increased stress
  • Low bone mass, leading to weak bones
  • Energy imbalance, or experiencing severe exhaustion

In some cases, over-exercising can also lead to hormonal imbalance and overeating.

So, you see, exercising is good for the body but the rule of moderation applies to it. The saying ‘too much of anything is bad’ is apt for such a situation. Hence, it is important for you to figure out the ‘how much is too much’ answer for yourself according to your requirements.

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Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.