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How to Know If You're Exercising Enough

Updated: 4 days ago

While it is becoming increasingly popular to look after ourselves and stay healthy, I can't help but acknowledge that there is a lot of noise as well. This week something works and is trendy, and then next week it turns out, that was not working after all- and then there is a new trend.

There are also a few things more upsetting than not seeing the results from your workout routines. You have been working out for weeks, but the results are not matching up. So how do you know if you are doing enough? Let’s find out as we explore some reasons people exercise, how often you should exercise, the limits and more. 

workout gear- dumbbells, a towel, headphones

Reasons people exercise


There are many reasons people exercise and some of these include:


  1. Boosting mood and motivation- Exercise helps boost one's mood both psychologically and physiologically. From a psychological standpoint, it helps to improve self-esteem because of the sense of accomplishment it gives after completing an exercise routine. While from a psychological point of view, it enables the release of certain brain chemicals such as serotonin,  dopamine, and endorphins. These chemicals are also called "happy hormones" because they help regulate one's mood and emotions, thereby decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety.

  2. Cultivating a healthy lifestyle - It is imperative that you include a form of exercise if you intend to lead a healthy lifestyle. This might be taking walks, going to the gym, or taking dance classes.

  3. Losing weight- Weight loss is a common reason why people exercise. They do so either for aesthetic purposes or to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Because obesity causes these illnesses, a healthy weight is encouraged to prevent them.

  4. Gaining muscle mass - As much as people are interested in losing weight, others are also interested in building muscle mass. For those in this category, they approach their workout routines a little differently. There is more emphasis on strength training. 

  5. Finding inspiration and new ideas - It shouldn't be surprising that inspiration and ideas usually come when working out because, during a workout, the neural pathways in your brain are making more connections and creating more pathways. 

  6. Post break-up therapy - You might have experienced this yourself or know someone who has: people often sign up for a gym membership after a breakup. While it may sound amusing, it actually works. Many individuals have found that hitting the gym helps them cope with the depressive phase that typically follows the end of a relationship.


How often should you exercise?


Now that we have discussed reasons people exercise, let's discuss how often you need to. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, all healthy individuals should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise 3 days per week. Out of these, they also recommend that each person should include strength and endurance training exercises. (acsm.org


This recommendation works well for maintaining general health. However, if you have specific goals, such as losing weight or gaining muscle, your results will depend on your workout routine and the intensity of your exercises.


For weight gain, your workout routine should include more cardiovascular exercises because it causes more calorie burn while for muscle build, you should involve more strength training exercises. 


Do you need recovery days? 

Yes, you do! While regular exercise is essential, rest and recovery are equally important. Recovery days help prevent injuries and muscle fatigue. The American Heart Association recommends taking at least two rest days for each muscle group (Heart.org). This means that if you work out your upper body on a Monday, the next day to exercise that muscle group should be Thursday, and so on. This pattern ensures your muscles have adequate time to recover and grow stronger.


Subtle signs that confirm you are working out enough 


The results you are expecting may take some time to become visible, but that doesn’t mean your workouts aren’t working out (pun intended). Let's discuss four subtle signs that confirm you are working out enough. 


  • You are hitting your daily target time.

If you spend 30 minutes to 1 hour a day exercising consistently, then you are on the right track. 


  • Your energy level is better compared to when you weren't working out.

If you are a lot more active, especially in the mornings, and your performance level is better, then you are working out well. 


  • You feel happier and more motivated to do other activities. 

If you find yourself happier and more motivated to accomplish other things outside the gym, then your workout is sufficient. This happens because exercise increases your dopamine level, a hormone that works with the brain's reward system. This system produces dopamine in response to positive activities, boosting your motivation to continue similar activities.


  • Your metabolic rate has improved significantly. 

Exercise speeds up digestion and increases hunger. If you find that you are consuming more meals than usual, then you are likely exercising enough. In a different article, we will talk about how to keep your insulin regulated to avoid excessive hunger.


3 key takeaways 

As we conclude, here are three important points to remember:


  1. To lead a healthy life, aim to exercise at least 150 minutes per week.

  2. Rest days are crucial; take at least two rest days per week to prevent muscle injury.

  3. Results don’t happen overnight. If you're worried about not seeing results, look for subtle changes in your mood, appetite, and performance levels. If you observe these positive changes, then you are likely working out enough.

DISCLAIMER: Features published by Adaaba are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.


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