How Many Days a Week Should I Work Out?

How Many Days a Week Should I Work Out?

Written by Isabel Mayfield | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 August 30
7 min

Regular exercise is an excellent way to promote better health and well-being, but how much exercise should you be doing each week? In this guide, we take a look at how many times a week you should exercise, how long, and what the benefits of regular exercise are.

how many days a week should i workout

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Regular exercise is part of a healthy and balanced diet. It is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity every week, but what does this mean in terms of an actual exercise plan?

When it comes to getting regular exercise, it can be hard enough to fit it into your weekly schedule without trying to understand how many times a week you should be working out, so we’ve made it easier for you.

In this article, we’re going to look at how many days a week you should be working out, how long your workout program should last, and what the health benefits of a weekly workout plan are. Take a look now to find out more.

How Many Days a Week Should I Work Out?

It is recommended that you work out at least 4 to 5 times a week to see physical improvements. This allows you enough workout sessions to incorporate strength training and cardio exercise, as well as rest days to allow your body to recover.

Whether your health and fitness goals include building muscle mass or losing weight, your workout program should include weight training that targets major muscle groups as well as cardio or moderate-intensity exercise.

Good examples of cardio exercise include running long distances, cycling, either in the gym or on the road, and rowing for weight loss.

You should engage in strength training on 2–3 of your exercise days, while cardio exercise can be performed between 3–6 times per week. We recommend splitting your exercise sessions evenly between strength and cardio.

Alongside the days that you engage in cardio and strength training, it is absolutely imperative that you also have rest days. On rest days, your body has a chance to recover, and it is during this recovery that your body will build muscle.

On these resting days, you may want to engage in active rest or active recovery, which refers to low-intensity exercises, like yoga, to stretch the body and allow it to recover while still moving.

While working out for 4–5 days a week can help with both weight loss and building lean muscle mass, if you are new to exercise, you should build up to this level of activity slowly. This is to allow your body to get used to working out this much. You should start by exercising just 2 or 3 days a week until your body can handle more.

How Long Should Workouts Last?

The length of your workout session will differ depending on the kind of exercise you are performing. For strength training that includes weight lifting, 30–60 minutes is optimal but will vary from person to person. For a cardio session, you will need to set aside 30–50 minutes, depending on the intensity of the exercise.

Strength training

When it comes to strength training, you can either lift weights or engage in bodyweight exercises. Both of these kinds of exercise will take around the same time per gym session, and the time depends on factors including your fitness goals, age and ability, and preferences.

Strength training usually involves repetitions of certain exercises with rest in between. The amount of time you rest depends on the aim of your training. For muscle building and endurance, rest times will be longer than for simply building strength.

You may also find that you get bored with a long session and could instead incorporate cluster sets into your training. Another way to combat boredom during training is to assign a different muscle group per gym session. For example, you could work out your upper body on one day, your core on another, and your legs on the last.

While you may want to plan out a timed session for each of your workouts, it is impossible to know exactly how long each will take until you have performed it.

Cardio training

For cardio training, it is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. This means you need to split this time across your cardio sessions. Timings will differ depending on the intensity of the exercise you perform.

Moderate intensity exercise includes activities like brisk walking, light cycling, and household cleaning. To get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, you could go on five 30-minute morning walks or cycle for 50 minutes, three days a week.

Vigorous activity includes hiking, jogging, fast cycling, or sports games like football and basketball. To get 75 minutes of vigorous activity, you could go on three 25-minute runs a week or cycle to work each morning.

What Are the Health Benefits of Working Out?

Whether you want to lose weight or increase your stamina or gain muscle mass, working out is extremely beneficial for your body. Below, we have listed some of the health benefits of regular exercise.

#1 Better weight management

It is well known that not engaging in any exercise is a risk factor for obesity, and so it follows that regular exercise can help you better manage your weight and maintain weight loss.

Regular exercise helps you burn more calories each day, promoting a caloric deficit. Eating at a calorie deficit is the number one way to lose weight; therefore, exercise can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

In addition, combining resistance training with regular cardio is thought to improve fat metabolism and boost fat loss, helping you lose weight and improve overall health.

#2 Reduced risk of chronic diseases

Like obesity, a lack of exercise has actually been linked to the development of many chronic illnesses. Evidence suggests that incorporating exercise into your daily life can reduce the risk of developing a number of chronic diseases.

Exercise is thought to improve several heart risk factors, including lowering cholesterol levels, improving insulin sensitivity, and reducing blood pressure. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing many cardiovascular conditions, including heart disease.

You can further reduce the risk of many chronic diseases through dieting. Indeed, it is thought that an intermittent fasting diet plan could also reduce the risk of certain illnesses.

#3 Improved mental health

Regular exercise is great for your general health, but it also promotes better mental health and well-being. Exercise has been shown to reduce the feelings and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, and it releases endorphins, which make us feel happier.

#4 Promoted bone health

Exercising is thought to improve bone density and strength. This is particularly useful in older adults who may have weaker bones. Exercise may be able to help prevent fractures and breakages.

Impact exercises, like soccer, basketball, and running, are thought to improve bone density better than other no-impact exercises.

#5 Improved sleep quality

Regular exercise is thought to improve relaxation and help you sleep better. Sleep is essential for our health, and a lack of sleep can make us feel ill, lack focus and attention, and even make it more difficult to lose weight.

There is some evidence to suggest that more regular exercise may be able to help those who have sleep conditions, like chronic insomnia.

How Many Days a Week Is It Recommended to Lift Weights?

To maximize muscle growth, it is recommended that you lift weights at least 2–3 times per week. This may seem like a lot when it comes to full-body workouts, but you could instead split your exercise sessions into targeted sessions.

This could mean you strength train your upper body one day, then your core on another, and your lower body on the final day. By segmenting your workouts, rather than choosing to work multiple muscles at a time, you let your body recover and engage in fewer workouts.

Lifting weights also goes hand in hand with interval training, meaning you could incorporate HIIT activity into your strength training to build stamina.

How often should I do legs? 

The number of gym sessions you focus on leg training depends upon a few things, including your fitness level and fitness aims. If you’re looking to increase muscle size, you can train your legs more than twice a week, but if you’re just looking to build strength, you may only need to train twice a week.

It is important to train in a way that has the most benefits for you, and if you’re struggling to understand what is best for you, you could speak with a personal trainer for guidance.


Is working out 4 times a week enough?

It is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. This could easily be split into 4 workout sessions, so exercising 4 times a week is enough to maintain health.

Is it okay to do the same workout every day?

While it may be easier to perform the same workout each day, it is best to vary your exercise so as not to overwork certain muscles and joints. Try mixing cardio, like regular running, and strength training for best results.

How often should you do cardio exercises?

You should aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate cardio. Working out 4–5 times a week is recommended to give your body time to recover.

A Word From Our Coach

Regular exercise is important for optimal health, and it is recommended that you aim for 75–150 minutes of physical activity per week, depending on the intensity. Working out 4–5 times a week is recommended and allows you time to engage in recovery and rest too.

Each person’s fitness aims will be different, and so their workouts will vary, but everyone should mix cardio with strength training. Building muscle helps keep your joints, bones, and muscles healthy, which is important in later life.

There are many ways you can get more exercise; in fact, household cleaning can actually help you burn more calories each day. Taking up running is a great way to incorporate exercise into your daily life, but if you prefer to work out in a gym, you could take up cycling or rowing or even join a gym class like pilates.

Getting enough physical activity each week can not only improve your weight management but can also help prevent the risk of developing many chronic diseases, help you sleep better, and improve your energy levels.

On top of this, physical activity is an excellent way to promote better mental well-being. Exercise has been shown to improve feelings of depression and anxiety and can even help reduce stress.

When it comes to the number of times per week you should work out, it all depends on your fitness levels. Always aim for 150 minutes per week, but don’t overdo it and try to find an exercise you actually enjoy.


Regular exercise is a great way to promote better health and well-being. Working out 4–5 times per week is an optional amount to show results and allow time for your body to recover. If you are new to exercise, you should build up to this amount.

If you’re struggling to understand what kind of exercise you should be doing, you could speak with a personal trainer for professional advice and guidance.

Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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