Exercise frequency - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-26-2004, 05:04 PM
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Do you think it's better to do a lighter workout every day (or almost every day), or do a more intense workout but less frequently?

In my personal case the former is better -- mostly because I'm much more apt to actually stick to the workout. But it also means that I work out for shorter times, so might not be benefiting as much as someone who can stick to an every-other-day schedule.

I've seen a lot of opinions on both sides of the issue, as well as medical studies supporting one side or the other. So it's more a curiosity thing than trying to find the "right" answer.

The "minimum" amount of exercise I've read most often is thirty minutes per workout, at least three times a week. I've been doing fifteen minutes per workout six times a week. There really isn't a correlation between my workout and the minimum -- I chose those times due to how I feel about my workout. And the day off once a week is nice to have. Do you think my workouts are comparable to the stated minimum? Not enough? More than enough? Disagree with the minimum? Think penguins are nifty?
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#2 Old 12-26-2004, 05:37 PM
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It's been awhile and I'm getting back into it this year now that I'm not working as many hours.

However, 3-4 times per week of pushing weights worked best for me. Muscle burns fat so my workout "continued" when I was finished the real workout.
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#3 Old 12-26-2004, 05:59 PM
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I would say that if you can handle the shorter workouts but know that you will burn out of longer ones and then give up exercising all together, then stick with the shorter ones.
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#4 Old 12-27-2004, 03:21 AM
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I know what's working for me, and I'm sticking to that.

The question was more along the lines of "which approach do you think is more beneficial?" For example, am I missing out on something by doing short workouts? Is there a point below which I'm not really doing any good?

As I mentioned, I am doing fifteen minute workouts almost every day. But I don't know if I would get much benefit from working out for five minutes three times a day. Even if I was doing that six days a week. From how I feel when I work out, it takes anywhere from two to five minutes before I'm really warmed up (even with stretching beforehand). So if I did five minute intervals spread throughout the day, I think I'd always be getting just to the warm-up point, then stopping.

Part of the reason I ask is because I've been slowly increasing the distance as I row faster (as in, get in better shape). But I wonder if I should be increasing the duration instead. The computer on the rowing machine lets me choose a total distance (my current approach) or total time (as well as many other workouts). So at least part of my question is in regards to which technique would benefit me more.

I'm not totally sure if this makes sense, I just got home from work and I'm pretty tired.
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#5 Old 12-27-2004, 07:57 AM
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The more intense the workout (provided that it is safe), the more beneficial the workout. If your 15mins are light, it's not as beneficial as 15mins of intense exercise. Can you work out a bit longer? will your schedule allow?

However, the more intense the work out, the more rest you will need between workouts.
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#6 Old 12-27-2004, 08:09 AM
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I think 15 minutes sounds light. I haven't rowed in a very long time, but if you're rowing for that long, can you do something else too? Like going for a walk, stretching, crunches/pushups, weights, running, cycling, yoga, etc? So you could do a 15min one day, a half hour the next, 15min the next, half hour the next, etc. I think it's at least a half hour a day that's recommended, but then again, every time I read a printed recommendation it's slightly different.
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#7 Old 12-27-2004, 08:41 AM
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Is there any way you could add another 15 minutes at some point during the day? Like maybe wake up a little earlier or go for a walk at lunch?
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#8 Old 12-27-2004, 02:15 PM
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i think it depends upon a lot of factors: 1. what constitutes a "work out?" 2. what kind of shape are you in and what sort of shape do you want to be in? 3. why are you working out?

For me, i do yoga every day. Sometimes, it's an easy 30 minuts. Other times it's a difficult 2 hours. when i am weight training, i only train twice a week, but i do a moderate 30 minute walk every day (two and some miles--which to someone else may be a difficult walk). i may swim only a couple of times a week, but it's always high intensity interval training. So, i'm working out every day, doing different things at different intensities.

what is intense for me may be too intense (and too much) for someone else; what is easy for me may not be enough exercise for someone to get fit on. you know?

so there.
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#9 Old 12-27-2004, 03:33 PM
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Okay, so the general consensus seems to be that fifteen minutes is too short.

In my personal case I chose fifteen minutes because it's something I can do regularly -- when I was rowing for an hour every other day (last year when I first got the rowing machine) it was easy to put off because I didn't feel like I had time. I can certainly work towards doing thirty minutes a day, and I think I'd still stick to that. It's going to be a little bit until I'm fit enough to be able to do that, but I don't mind ramping up to the goal.

My technical part of the question has still been unanswered, though. I'm not sure if it's just because I'm stating it poorly.

Ignoring all other factors -- personal schedule, tendency to stick to the routine, and so on. Assuming that the workout intensity is the same for all workouts (pretty easy to do with the computer on the rowing machine). If I rowed for three hours once a week, would this be the same benefit as rowing thirty minutes six times a week?
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#10 Old 12-27-2004, 05:21 PM
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No, it wouldn't have the same benefit. For the muscles, including the heart, to gain strength, they need to tear slightly, heal, tear again, and then heal again over and ove. It has to be done regularly and once a week, no matter how long, isn't enough. If you only work out once a week for 3 hours, you'll do more damage than good because your heart and muscles will be overly stressed instead of gaining more strength. Exercising 15 minutes a day is good, but it's not enough to get enough benefits.

That said, if you have a hard time fitting in 30 minutes in one sitting you could break up your workout over the course of a day into two 15 minute workouts or three 10 minute workouts and it would be beneficial.
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