How Much Exercise Is Enough?

Exercise beyond what is optimal is at best a waste of time and possibly harmful as injuries occur or the body does not fully recover from the exercise. That time spend sweating and enduring discomfort could have been spent relaxing or more importantly recovering. The human body is the only machine that improves when it is worked, but at some point it wears down like any other machine. If the body is not permitted adequate time to recover injury, a compromised immune system or fatigue can result.

What is the point of the additional exercise if the end result is injury? Few are equipped to run long hours on the road without the eventual injury. Not everybody listens to their body and opts to stop exercise short of injury. According to Runners World 70 percent of runners who run regularly for a year will experience an injury. While these injuries may be small they can become chronic if not allowed to heal fully and in the end might require surgery. Is it worth possible injury just to burn a few more calories? This is not to say one should not run, but one should consider that possible downside of running those extra miles.

Each person must weigh the costs and benefits of exercise to find what is the appropriate amount of exercise for them. The more one does an activity the benefit, while it may be positive, becomes increasingly smaller for each extra hour spent doing it. For each additional hour spent doing an activity the likelihood of an injury increases and the foregone free time becomes more highly valued. At some point it is just not worth the extra time, effort, and potential injury for the very small benefit. Each person will have their own cost benefit analysis to answer the question of how much exercise is enough.

The body has a limited ability to recover from stress. If inadequate time is permitted for the body to recover the body cannot make a positive adaptation. This is especially true with weight lifting. Most people will show improvements from weight lifting program the first few months of training. Eventually the gains become much smaller or they stop improving altogether. It is at this point that the demands place on the body have become greater that the body’s ability to recover. In an attempt to keep progressing many place even greater demands on the system to get beyond the “plateau”. It is at this point that lifting becomes drudgery and injuries occur. Many eventually stop exercising when the results are not forthcoming.

It is hard to stay motivated when there is little or no real improvement to show for it. Little wonder that that average stay with a trainer is just six months. We all have a limit on how much we can improve our body. That limit is defined by our genetics. We can come closer to that limit only when the body is given adequate recovery time. Take some additional days off.

Rather than see how much exercise you can withstand start from the aim of determining what is the least amount that will produce the highest marginal return. The formula is simple; perform just enough work of a demanding nature, rest, following by work a little more demanding to see continuous improvement. You can be stronger, more toned, more flexible and less prone to injuries in as little as one or two 30 minute sessions a week with ahigh intensity training program, HIT.

One can live well without requiring hours each week engaged in monotonous exercise. Significant strength increases occur exercising as little as once or twice a week IF it's the right exercise program with the right trainer. Our fitness trainers at Austin Personal Training and at New Orleans Fitness Trainers can guide you through an effective HIT personal training program.