How Much Should You Exercise? | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

How Much Should You Exercise?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • The recommended amount of exercise for adults is 2 ½ hours per week.
  • Factors such as fitness level and age can determine the type of exercise that would deen adequate.
  • Even if you exercise under 2 ½ hours a week, it is much better than not exercising at all. There are plenty of ways to get exercise throughout the day.

Whether you already exercise on a regular basis, are just beginning an exercise program, or are overweight and thinking about a way to lose weight, you may be wondering what the experts say as to how much should you exercise?

Are there specific guidelines for amounts of exercise?

There have been many studies done on this subject and while they don’t all agree, and can seem even contradictory, there are some more generally accepted guidelines for people to follow.

We are constantly bombarded by studies that recommended different amounts of exercise for different populations and different needs.

It is not easy weeding through all of the research to determine which plan is best for you and your personal needs.

Some people might get fed up with this and decide the often conflicting information is reason enough not to exercise, but that is the wrong decision to make.

The reality of staying healthy and fit is that you need to be active. Don’t worry as much about an exact time limit for your daily or weekly exercise and focus on adding more activity to your lifestyle.

Exercise is important and you can easily start adding to your fitness level by going PRO and gaining access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!

How Much Should You Exercise to Stay Healthy?

There are some generally accepted guidelines for how much exercise you need to remain healthy, lower your risk of various diseases, and maintain your level of fitness.

These guidelines say that adults should get 2 ½ hours per week of moderate physical activity or 1 ¼ hours of vigorous activity. Children and teens need even more – one hour per day.

Moderate activity can be:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Participating in activities such as gardening, household chores, or playing an active game with your children

Vigorous activity includes such activities as:

By meeting these guidelines in your daily workout routine you reap many health benefits besides keeping fit. Many diseases can be prevented or your risk lowered simply by getting enough exercise. These diseases include:

  • Depression
  • Several types of cancer
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Type II Diabetes

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How Much Should You Exercise to Support Weight Loss?

If you are already overweight you need to increase the amount of exercise you get in order to lose that excess weight. Weight loss occurs when your calorie output is greater than your calorie intake. Therefore, assuming you are still eating, you must exercise a lot to burn off more calories than you take in.

In general, it is felt that people wishing to lose weight need at least one hour each day of vigorous physical activity. Some studies even suggest that 90 minutes per day is better, especially for those considered to be obese. Of course, you must always keep in mind that diet and nutrition also play an important role in your health in particular when you want to lose weight.

How Much Should You Exercise Versus How Much Time You Have in Your Day?

The number one reason people state for not exercising is a lack of time in their daily lives. Most people are busy with work, families, and other aspects of their lives that don’t seem to allow room for exercise time. Given this, the guidelines for how much exercise you should be getting can seem unattainable. After all, many of us do not easily have 2 ½ hours of time free each week. Do not despair!

When broken down, 2 ½ hours can be 30 minutes a day during the week; or less if you include the weekend. The guidelines also use the phrase physical activity because exercise does not have to be done in traditional fashion such as in a gym, weight room, or participating in a sport.

Physical activity can mean parking further away from the building you work at or the grocery store after work so you have to walk further. It can mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing a quick set of sit-ups when you first get out of bed in the morning.

Always remember that doing something is better than nothing. If your schedule does not allow for 2 ½ hours per week of physical activity try to shoot for an hour. When you’re able to accomplish that, try to increase it to 90 minutes a week. The worst decision for you, your body, and your long term health is to choose to not exercise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do you need to go to the gym to lose weight?

No! Proper nutrition is a great first step towards losing weight. Movement of any kind is also beneficial. If you can’t afford a gym membership or do not have time to go to the gym, try some bodyweight exercises at home, go for walk or run, or get some movement in at your local park!

What is NEAT?

NEAT is an acronym and stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. It refers to the energy used to do everything outside of eating, sleeping, and purposeful exercise. By increasing your neat (taking the stairs, fidgeting, doing the dishes, etc., you can burn more calories throughout the day

How do you get the motivation to exercise?

There are many ways to find motivation to exercise. Here is a great article for more information on the topic.

Get started on your fitness journey today with an exercise routine by going PRO and gaining access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!

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