Should you exercise every day? All the signs point to yes.
A lot of people worry that daily exercise might be too much, and it’s true that in some situations you can overdo it. But the fact is that many people don’t even meet the minimum exercise recommendations.
Daily exercise recommendations in America, Canada, the UK, and Australia are all the same: 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 to 7 days a week. They also recommend strength or resistance training of some description at least two days a week.
I can understand why you might think it’s not the best idea – exercise is hard, right? And you’re sore for days afterward?
There’s a smarter way to exercise every day. Our bodies benefit much more from small-and-frequent bouts of exercise, even if they still don’t meet the recommended guidelines. For example, a Taiwanese study of over 400,000 people showed that even those exercising for 15 minutes a day at moderate intensity (half the recommended amount) lived on average three years longer than those who were inactive. Three years is a lot of life! That could be the difference between seeing your grandkids graduate from high school – or not.
Daily exercise has no drawbacks
…When done well. It is definitely possible to over-do it when you are just getting started. Keep your workouts short and relatively easy, and you can do something every day. As your body becomes more accustomed to working out, you can stretch your sessions slightly longer or choose exercises that are a little more challenging.
There is strong evidence that increasing exercise will decrease your risk of death from any cause. And there doesn’t seem to be an upper limit. Even very high volumes of exercise – in excess of 100 minutes daily – aren’t shown to be harmful for overall health. The worst thing that we see with long daily sessions is that you eventually won’t see the same return on your investment. I prefer to think of it like this: You’re already in peak health, and you can’t get any peak-er.
Short term safety
Start off with small workouts to decrease the chance of being too sore. I always tell my clients that we want to aim for challenging but achievable, and that’s a very individual measure. You should feel like you’ve done something, but it should also feel good.
Doing the same thing day in and day out might give you a few problems. Repetitive movements can increase your risk of repetitive stress injuries, or overuse injuries.
Varying the types of exercise you do can help keep your muscles and joint safe and injury free. Strength training in particular is a really great way to prevent injuries, since it makes your body more robust and ready for anything. Yoga or a stretch session are also great options to add to a routine, since it puts your body in positions that you don’t access every day. This helps keep you flexible and challenges your strength in different ways.
Overall, don’t be afraid to exercise every day. Listen to your body, especially in the day or two after challenging yourself with something new. Take it easy when you need to and push a bit when you feel up to it, and don’t forget that slow and steady wins the race. You want this to be a sustainable life-long habit, so make it as enjoyable as you can. Your body will thank you.