Is it Better to Exercise Every Day or Every Other Day?

Is it Better to Exercise Every Day or Every Other Day?

Once we set our minds on achieving a goal, we want instant results. It is easy to think that the more you exercise, the sooner you will see the results, but that isn’t necessarily true. A lot of people wonder, is it better to exercise every day or every other day?

If you are only starting, it is better to exercise every other day. As you progress, you can gradually begin exercising more often and go all the way through exercising every day. What is important is that regardless of how often you exercise, you have at least one rest day a week.

Exercising every day doesn’t have to be bad for you if your workouts are low-intensity and you work out your legs one day, arms the other, etc. There are some benefits to working out every day as well as drawbacks.

Is it better to exercise every day or every other day?

Whether you should exercise every day or every other day depends on your fitness level. If you’re only starting, it is easier if you workout about 3 days a week.  Think about how intense diets are almost always abandoned after a week or two, and they are less likely to lead to weight loss or healthy weight maintenance.

The commitment to working out every day has a huge failure rate. In the beginning, workouts cause soreness and exhaustion.  When your body is too tired to keep up with a rigorous workout plan, you see it as a failure and get discouraged and quit.

If you have your heart set on working out every day, you can try alternating days for strength training and cardiovascular workouts. You don’t want to do cardio and strength training on the same day because the intense aerobic activity can make you too tired to complete your weightlifting routine and vice versa. There are some benefits to working out every day, as well as some drawbacks.

Benefits of working out every day

Is it Better to Exercise Every Day or Every Other Day?

Less sedentary lifestyle

Adults spend about 70% of their time sitting. When you commit to working out every day, you help combat your sedentary lifestyle. It will also help you remove a prevalent tendency to rationalize not working out by convincing yourself that you’ll do it tomorrow instead.  A workout doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym; you can go for a jog or a walk instead.

Bigger chance of reaching your goals

When you string your workouts together, that can help you gradually ramp up their intensity and difficulty, leading to even more excellent results.

Mood boost

Working out not only supports your physical fitness but your mental health too. When you work out, your body releases endorphins, also known as happy hormones, which can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Improved memory

Exercising is believed to improve memory and problem-solving ability. 

Eating better

Most people eat healthier when they work out. After you’ve worked out, you are less likely to eat junk food. 

Drawbacks of working out every day

Not enough recovery time hurts your progress

When you do high-intensity workouts every day, you are less likely to see results. You have to have enough recovery time to start seeing any results.  Let’s take strength training, for example.

This type of workout breaks down muscle tissue. You have to give your muscles enough time to repair themselves. If you don’t let your body rest, you will probably overtrain your body and undermine the effectiveness of your workouts.

Mental burnout

You can quickly lose motivation if you work out every day. When you do the same exercises each day, you can experience mental burnout. 

Does working out every other day build muscle?

You have a better chance at building muscle if you work out every other day than if you work out every day.  Excessive training interferes with the recovery process, and this process is crucial for building muscle.  If your goal is to grow muscle, you will have to limit your weightlifting workouts every other day.

If you don’t see results after a while, you will want to work out even less often.  The minimal amount of exercise for muscle growth is two times a week. You will also have to use the theory of overloading and progression, which says that the amount of the load or resistance you place on the body needs to be bigger than what you’re typically used to. 

Keep in mind that rest and recovery are essential for both maintaining and building muscle. Your body will always need time to repair after a weightlifting workout. You will ideally want to rest one full day between your exercises.  That being said, if you go heavier than you usually do or increase the number of reps or sets, you might need an additional day to recover fully. 

Is 24 hours enough rest for muscles?

How much rest you will need depends on recovery, exercise intensity, frequency and duration, nutritional habits, and stress. Body recovery after a workout is consists of 3 phases. The first phase is the rest you take between the exercises, which lasts 30-to-90 seconds.

The next phase is 2-to-4 hours immediately after exercise, and the last phase is 24-to-72 hours after exercise. The muscle pain can peak 24 to 72 hours after a hard workout, and this is the reason why you should rest for at least 24 hours. Depending on the type and duration of the workout, you might need two or three days to recover fully.

How much exercise is too much?

The amount of exercise that is too much for you isn’t the same as the amount for other people; it is very individual.  You can tell that you’ve been exercising too much if you notice some symptoms that are related to overexercising. The most common symptoms are increased resting heart rate, decreased appetite, restless legs, and dehydration.

You can also have some trouble falling asleep or have a terrible quality of sleep. Over-exercising can even lead to insomnia.  Suppose women exercise too much and don’t eat enough for the amount of exercise they are doing.

In that case, they can experience amenorrhea, classified as no menstrual period for three months or more.  Make sure you cut back on exercise if you notice any of these symptoms, and give your body enough rest.

How many days after a workout do muscles grow?

Is it Better to Exercise Every Day or Every Other Day?

Hypertrophy, or muscle growth, depends on many factors, which are the age when you start working out, as well as how often you workout, the duration of your workout, and training techniques. It is much easier to build mass when you’re just getting started with strength training because of your initial recruitment of motor units. 

Your genetics also plays a significant role in muscle growth. This is the one factor that you have no power over. Nutrition, recovery, and hormone levels are as important as the exercise itself. It is also essential how consistent you are.

If you start working out later in life, you might be more motivated than someone who started earlier but isn’t consistent, which means you are more likely to see improvement.  That is why the rate at which muscle growth occurs varies considerably from one person to another.

Your ability to build muscle will decrease as you age. This is most noticeable after the age of 45. The strength of your bones and tendons will also decline over time, limiting the maximal achievable hypertrophy. Given all of these facts, it is hard to say precisely how many days after the workout your muscles will grow and how long it will take for you to see the results. 

Each factor plays a significant role in the process, so make sure you stay consistent, eat healthy food, consume enough protein, have enough rest, and progressively overload. If you do that, you will most likely see some progress after about two months. 

Conclusion

If you are only beginning to work out with the goal of building your muscles, it is highly suggested that you work out every other day. It is for your body not to get overwhelmed with all the routines that you are doing.

If you would want to get some tips, you can check this helpful muscle-building article for beginners. Once you progress, you can consider working out every day, provided that you give your body some rest and your muscles enough time to grow. After all, the purpose of working out is to grow your muscles.  

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James Wright

James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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