The amount of exercise needed for weight less has been a hot topic of conversation following the recent news that 41 per cent of Britons aged 40-60 walk for less than 10 minutes a month.
Personal trainer Tom Mans has spoken to The Independent about the preconceptions around how little movement is needed to lose weight, stay fit and maintain good health.
Mans said exercising three times a week is key. “You should train at least three times a week if you want to achieve your health and fitness goals in a reasonable amount of time, and stay fit and healthy.
“This exposes your body to a large enough training stimulus throughout the week, which enables the body to adapt, get stronger, leaner and fitter,” he explained, adding that working out just once or twice a week will only result in a low level of fitness.
The trainer noted that four or five workouts a week would be better, but admitted that was unachievable for most due to busy lifestyles.
He also believes whole-body workouts are better for general fitness and weight loss, rather than targeting specific areas.
Ideally, a session should include both aerobic and weight training, but if you’re struggling to fit everything in, he recommended two to three weight sessions each week.
As for when it’s best to work out, the personal trainer advised taking a day’s rest between sessions if you regularly lift weights. However, consecutive days are fine if you are training different body parts.
“You can train two days in a row but definitely try to avoid doing three days in a row unless you are an advanced lifter.
“If you don’t give your muscles time to recover, you’ll overload your joints and tendons which could become sore – or worse, you could give yourself an injury such as tendonitis.”
Despite the trend towards HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts, which can last less than 15 minutes, Mans stated that for real gains, workouts should be 45 minutes to an hour.
Mans also stressed the importance of a good night’s sleep when it comes to weight loss and fitness.
“For everyone – and especially people who train on a regular basis – getting seven to eight hours’ sleep on average per night is vitally important.
“After you train during the day, the body then grows stronger, burns fat and rebuilds damaged muscle tissue when you sleep.”
Mans said the most important message was to get moving, and not to be disgruntled by the lack of a one-size-fits-all solution.
“The type of workout you do ultimately depends on your ability, goals, likes and dislikes, equipment available, what injuries you have, and how much time you have available,” he explained.