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Cardio 101 - Frequency

How often should you exercise?

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Updated March 26, 2014

The frequency of your workouts will depend on your fitness level and your schedule. Beginners should start with about 3 non-consecutive days of cardio and work their way up to more frequent sessions. The general guidelines are:

  • To maintain current fitness level: 2-4 days a week (at least 20 minutes)
  • To lose weight: 4 or more days a week (at least 30 minutes)
  • To train for a triathlon: A whole lot.

What happens if you can't follow the guidelines? If you're still working on building the endurance and conditioning, it may take a few weeks to work your way up to more frequent exercises. If it's a busy schedule that stands in your way or other obstacles, do your best to workout as many days as you can try to squeeze something in, even if it's just a 5 or 10-minute brisk walk, on the other days.

Keep in mind that if you can't follow the guidelines because of your busy schedule, you may have trouble reaching your weight loss goals. If you can't do the work required to reach your goals, you may have to change your lifestyle or, if that isn't working, change your goal to fit where you are in your exercise or weight loss experience. Next page How hard should you workout?

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