Exercise promotes good health and weight maintenance. How much you choose to exercise depends on your goals, schedule and priorities. Exercising five days per week is a way to fit in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio and two total-body strength-training sessions per week. Scheduling a workout five days per week can also help you reach significant fitness goals such as running a marathon or sculpting a new physique.
The 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio recommended by the CDC can involve brisk walking, cycling on a flat road or active gardening. You can split this 150 minutes into manageable 30-minute segments done five times per week. The two total-body strength-training sessions should be done on nonconsecutive days and could be tacked on at the end of your cardio segment. If you do the basic recommended one set of eight to 12 repetitions per major muscle group, these sessions will take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete. You could also break up these workout recommendations by doing 50 minutes of cardio three times per week and strength training for 20 to 30 minutes on two other days. These recommendations meet your needs for health, but are unlikely to spur significant weight loss or major gains in your fitness level.
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To lose weight, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests you increase the amount of moderate-intensity cardio you perform to 250 minutes or more per week. This amounts to five sessions of 50 minutes each. You should still add the strength-training workout to two of these workout days to help you build lean muscle, which looks healthier and offers a metabolic boost to assist with weight loss.
The CDC notes that you can achieve good health by doing just 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio, such as running or a match of singles tennis, along with the two strength-training workouts per week. You can break this up into 15 minutes per day, five times per week. If you are pressed for time, this may be a way to fit exercise into a busy schedule.
To train for an event or to achieve greater fitness and health benefits, exercise for a longer duration during each of the five sessions you perform per week. Go for 300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio or 250 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio, says the CDC. Many marathon training plans, for example, call for running four days per week along with a day of cross training and one or two days of rest. The days you run, you might spend 30 to 180 minutes running -- depending on where you are in the plan. Exercising five days per week helps you fit in these extra training sessions but still leaves you free time so you don't feel like a slave to the gym. A five-day-per-week plan also gives your body ample rest to recover and repair so you can hit each workout with energy and enthusiasm.