How Often Should I Exercise?

By WLR's Personal Trainer, Nicola Glanville PTI REP Level 3

The answer to this question depends on your current level of fitness and what your goals are. Government guidelines recommend that the average healthy individual does 30 minutes of moderate cardio vascular exercise 3-5 times per week.


If you are new to exercise or haven’t exercised for a while it is advisable to follow each exercise day with a rest day to allow your body to rest and repair.


If you are used to exercise and wish to exercise on consecutive days try alternating between different forms of exercise. i.e. cycling on a Monday and swimming on a Tuesday.

Listen to your body and increase your activity levels gradually. To build your self up to exercising 5 times per week follow these guidelines:

  • Week 1-4. 1-3 times 20-30 minutes at up to 65% MHR
  • Week 5-8. 3 times 30 minutes at 65% to 75% MHR
  • Week 9-12. 4 times 30 minutes at 65% to 75% MHR
  • Week 12-16. 5 times 30 mins at 65% to 75% MHR

How to calculate your maximum heart rate (MHR)

To calculate your MHR subtract your age from 220. To find 65% of your MHR, multiply your MHR by 0.65. To find 75% of your MHR, multiply your MHR by 0.75. i.e. If you are 40 years old your MHR is 180. 65% of your MHR is 117 beats per minute (BPM). 75% of MHR is 135 BPM:

220 – 40 = 180 BPM

180 x 0.65 = 117 BPM (65% MHR)

180 x 0.75 = 135 BPM (75% MHR)

More Exercise Questions and Answers:

What is Exercise?

Why is Exercise Important?

How Do I Start to Exercise?

What Exercise Should I Do?

Easy Beginners Exercise Plan

WLR's Take 5 Exercise Plan is designed to be done at home with minimal equipment.

Find Out How Many Calories You Burn

You can use the exercise diary, database and tools in WLR to create and follow an exercise plan, and find out how many calories you burn. Click here for a free trial.

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