Regular physical activity offers numerous advantages, including improved heart health, better sleep and even a better mood. If you have limited time in your day and prefer to distribute your aerobic exercise minutes throughout the day, doing cardio twice a day can be an effective method. As long as you get adequate exercise throughout the week, you can perform cardio at any time during the day, either in one chunk or in smaller segments.
Cardio Twice a Day
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Physical Activity Guidelines recommends getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. You can break up this activity throughout the week in any way you choose. If you like shorter sessions, you could perform cardio twice a day.
For example, you might prefer walking twice a day for 15 minutes rather than one 30-minute session. Think of it as walking your dog twice a day or dividing your minutes into chunks in any way that suits your schedule and preferences. As long as you complete the minimum recommended aerobic exercise, then it doesn't matter when you do it.
For even greater health benefits, you can increase the amount of physical activity you perform, either in the number of minutes performed or the intensity level. If you wish, you can increase your total moderate-intensity minutes to 300. You can also perform physical activity at a higher intensity and cut your time in half, getting 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week.
Advantages of Cardio Exercise
Keeping up with your cardio, whether twice or day or anytime you're able to fit it in, offers numerous health benefits. Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and allows it to function more efficiently as it pumps blood throughout your body. Cardio can help lower your blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, improve sleep, maintain or reduce your weight and strengthen your immune system.
One notable advantage of aerobic exercise is the ability to boost your mood and alleviate symptoms of depression. High-intensity exercise releases "feel good" chemicals called endorphins into the body. Additionally, low-intensity exercise performed repeatedly over time offers distinct brain benefits — even if you're simply walking twice a day for 15 minutes.
This type of moderate exercise enables the release of proteins known as neurotrophic or growth factors, causing nerve cells to grow and establish new connections. Specifically, low-intensity exercise allows for nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that helps regulate mood. As the hippocampus grows, mood improves. Walking your dog twice a day can make both you and your pooch happy.
Cardio for Weight Loss
If your goal is weight loss, doing cardio twice a day may help you establish an exercise routine. When you first start exercising, it can be helpful to ease into the process by doing cardio twice or even three times a day. It may feel much more manageable to complete 10 minutes at a time rather than 30 minutes all at once.
In time, your endurance will improve and you may find it easier to complete 30 minutes at a time. You may even be able to double your daily cardio minutes so you're completing up to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous activity or a combination of the two. Moderate exercise can include walking twice a day for 15 minutes, while more vigorous activities can include running or cycling.
Be mindful not to overtrain, however, as it increases your risk of injury. Limit your vigorous twice-a-day workouts to once or twice a week or alternate with moderate-intensity exercise; for example, you could go for a run in the morning and take a walk in the evening. In addition, get adequate sleep and take at least one full day off from vigorous exercise per week to recover from twice-a-day workouts. On your rest days, you can perform moderate activity such as walking.
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- Harvard Health Publishing: Exercise Is an All-Natural Treatment to Fight Depression
- Harvard Health Publishing: How Much Cardio Should You Do?
- Healthline: What Are the Benefits of Aerobic Exercise?
- Mayo Clinic: Which Is Better — 30 Minutes of Aerobic Exercise Every Day or One Hour of Aerobic Exercise Three Times a Week?
- Shine365: Use Two-a-Day Workouts Sparingly