A Trainer’s Take on How Many Days Per Week You Should Do Cardio

how often should i do cardio
Photo by @lanafarfalla for Twenty20

When you get into the groove of working out, it’s easy to feel like you need to go full force. It is key to not overwork or injure your body. Remember that cardio, strength training, and rest are all major aspects of living a healthy and active lifestyle. So, how much of each is the right amount each week?

“How Often Should I Do Cardio?”

If you are already actively working out and in shape, you should probably be hitting the gym five times a week. The best way to break-down your seven-day week is three days of strength training, two days of cardio, and two days of active rest. Self magazine tapped pro trainer and founder of TS Fitness, Noam Tamir, for his weekly breakdown.

How to Structure Your Week

Cardio

Tamir advises those of us working out five days a week to add cardio to our plan two of those days. “Doing cardio keeps your circulatory system working optimally helping you to recover faster…[and it] keeps your endurance up,” says Tamir. “It also increases your VO2 max, which helps your body utilize oxygen.”

The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. How you get those 150 minutes in is up to you. There are so many options for cardio from spinning to an outdoor run or your favorite cardio-based class. We suggest breaking your cardio into two 60-minute segments and using the rest of the time for warm-ups on strength-training days.

Strength Training

In this fitness plan, you will be focused on strength training for 3 of your “on” days. One of the primary reason for strength training, according to Tamir, is because “the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate.” In other words, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn when you’re not working out. “It also strengthens joints and bones,” he adds. Before each session, warm up for about 5 minutes and then dedicate 45-60 minutes on the actual strength exercises.

Active Rest

Now for the best part: rest! It is very important that you factor in two days of active rest so that your body can recover and rebuild. Rest days don’t mean you need to ban yourself from the gym or avoiding physical activity. You should aim for 30-60 minutes of active recovery during your rest days to get your body moving. Look out for low-endurance yoga classes or go for a nice long walk. If you need a day of complete rest once in awhile, that is fine too!

How do you usually structure your week? Share in the comments.