One thing we all want to know about exercise is:
What is the bare minimum I need to do?
When I chat with people about this, they often want to know if I train everyday and if they could, or even should, do the same.
Exercise, like many things in life, is all about getting the right amount.
But it’s also about practicality, specificity and diminishing returns. What that means for you might be quite different to me.
So let’s have a look at some principles behind exercise and what different approaches mean.
The amount we should exercise or train depends on a lot of individual factors, including our health and injury history, age, lifestyle and our fitness goals.
The Australian Government Department of Health Physical Activity Guidelines
for physical activity suggest that adults (aged 18-64) should do between 2.5 and 5 hours of moderate exercise every week.
Or, between 1.25 and 2.5 hours of vigorous activity.
For adults aged over 65 recommendations are for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most or all days.
Given these guidelines pertain to maintaining general health, rather than say, improving athletic performance, most of us could probably do with more movement as a baseline.
The key in figuring out what is appropriate for you is to consider:
- What you like doing
- What you can commit to doing (realistically)
- What you want to achieve and
- What you need to help you get there
Each of these will help you get closer to the right amount of activity for you.
Picking something you like to do will always make it easier to do it. Being realistic about how much and how often you can commit to that likewise goes a long way to staying consistent.
However for most of us, the next two things are a bit harder to pin down. Often our goals are arbitrary (I want a six-pack), unrealistic (I want a six-pack!), or both (I want a six-pack TOMORROW!)
Thinking about why we want to be healthy, strong, flexible (or whatever) should be the basis of both what and how you train.
Say you have a physically demanding job.
Perhaps your ‘exercise’ is actually more about recovery and balancing out any unhelpful biases you develop in your daily grind.
That might look very different to someone who wants to be able to go on the monkey bars with their kids (or grand kids) or with someone who wants to climb Everest.
Whatever the goals you have though, getting the right support can make all the difference to achieving them.
Whether that’s a coach who can help you with a plan to get to your goal, a specialist who can help rehabilitate an injury, or even just a friend who can provide encouragement and accountability, that support will help you make the most of your efforts.
Which brings us to the least fun part of the picture.
When you first start a new exercise program, you often see results quite quickly. As you persist with it though, the same intensity of training provides diminishing returns. This is the key reason why support towards your goals is worthwhile.
As we get fitter, stronger and healthier our bodies adapt to the work we are doing.
In order to continue that adaptation and continue getting stronger etc. we need to exercise in progressively more challenging ways. A supporter, coach or trainer can make a massive difference here, by providing alternatives, changing programming, and maintaining forward progress.
This means that it’s less likely that we will still be doing the same program after 18 months, and wondering why it’s stopped working.
So to answer the question, ‘should I exercise everyday?’
HOWEVER, you need to do the right kind of exercise or activity everyday. Some days should be easier, some harder. Some should focus on recovery and rest, especially as this is when the body physically changes.
If you want to work out what might work for you, get in touch and I’d be happy to help you figure out something that fits your life, interests and budget.
And yes, I do something almost every day.