How often should we train to get in shape?

by Matthew WrightAnd Teesside University And Jonathan TaylorAnd Teesside University

Elite athletes – like Jacob Ingbrigtsenwho won gold in the men’s 1500m at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – Train About ten to 14 times a week, log many hours on the track and in the gym. But for the rest of us, getting in shape doesn’t necessarily mean such a grueling regimen.

How often you should train depends on many different factors – such as your training goals, the intensity of your exercise and any injury history you may have. The type of training you do can also determine how often you need to exercise.

Exercise puts stress on different systems in our bodies. This stress causes fatigue, but it also leads to “adjustments” (improvements) specific to the stress we have experienced. For example, while resistance exercise (like lifting weights) helps us build muscle strength, it is unlikely to improve our cardiovascular fitness because it puts more stress on our skeletal muscles than the heart.

But improvements only happen with a combination of recovery and repetition. If we don’t replicate the stress of training, the improvements will be lost. We also need to give our bodies enough – but not too much – time between training sessions and even Recovery and “adaptation”. In short, the key to improving fitness is continuous training, which means balancing exercise and recovery adequately.

To complicate matters, some body systems take longer to recover than others. For example, exercises that stress the body’s nervous system — such as sprinting, high-intensity interval training, or very heavy resistance training — will take Longer to recover from From a low intensity session – like light jogging that primarily stresses the heart and lungs. This means that depending on the type of training you do, you may need to exercise more or less than you think.

endurance exercise

When training for endurance events, doing regular, low-intensity exercises is helpful. Regular training of this intensity helps the body Use oxygen more effectivelyOver time, it becomes easier Exercising at the same intensity. In fact, successful endurance runners tend to perform most (about 80% of their training) in low intensity, with high intensity sessions planned carefully – often two to three times per week, with at least 48 hours in between. This also helps athletes recover better and avoid injury between training sessions.

skill based sports

Many sports, including swimming, tennis, and martial arts, require a combination of physical and technical skills. While More research is needed In this area, it is generally believed that consistent and purposeful practice improves the performance of these types of sports.

For example, swimming coaches value high-volume and low-intensity workouts (Focus on technology) to enable swimmers to move more efficiently and easily across the water. But when we do the same kind of training repeatedly, Overuse injuries It can happen, so it may be best to vary your training stress to help your body recover – so you have to balance intense days with easier training days and recovery days.

High-intensity activities (such as jogging or playing tennis) can alter the central and peripheral nervous systems – both of which are thought to be important for improving dexterity. But these activities can only be maintained for a short time at the required intensity – so to avoid injury, it is important to do only some exercises, but Practice constantly over time.

In short, “smarter”, not more difficult, training is essential in both endurance and skill-based sports.

resistance training

When it comes to building muscle, doing more training sessions per week leads to Greater gains in muscle strength. Perhaps this is because increasing the amount of training leads to a greater increase in both Muscle size and strength. But rest and recovery (including proper nutrition) are still crucial to helping muscles increase in size.

In general, it is recommended to perform muscle strengthening exercises 2 or more days a week To improve muscle and bone health. If your goal is to increase muscle size, training different muscle groups on different days can help ensure that your muscles continue to challenge enough to build strength, while giving yourself enough time to recover between workouts.

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But while doing more days of resistance training is beneficial, even just one day a week is effective Strength improvement. Full body movements, such as squats and lunges, performed with correct technique can be great for developing strength. It’s also worth noting that exercising as hard as you can until you can lift more repetitions of a particular exercise – known as lift to failure – does not provide any additional strength-improving benefits. In fact, it might be so more useful To build strength to leave a little in reserve.

Health and fitness

For the average person trying to get back in shape, the most important thing is not necessarily the amount of exercise you do, but the quality of that exercise.

For example, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) shows promising results Improve fitness and health. This involves performing the exercises at maximum effort for a short period of time, followed by a period of rest. recent study Performing four to seven bouts of one minute of intense exercise with 75 seconds of rest between three times a week showed improved physical fitness and mental wellness. So for people who don’t exercise regularly, as little as 30 minutes a week may be beneficial.

Whether you should exercise more or less often depends on many things – including how often you can, your training goals and the intensity of the exercise you do. We recommend that you try to change the type of training you do within a week, and allow adequate recovery between days of intense training or resistance training – including at least one recovery day per week. But in general, the most effective training program is one that you maintain consistently over a long period of time.Conversation

Matthew Wright, biomechanics, strength and conditioning teacher, Teesside University And Jonathan TaylorLecturer in sports and exercise, Teesside University

This article has been republished from Conversation Under Creative Commons License. Read the original article.

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