Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How much exercise is enough?


Your doctor or exercise specialist can help you figure out how much exercise is right for you. There are three elements you need to consider. You can remember these by the acronym they make: f-i-t.

  • f for frequency - how many days per week you should exercise
  • i for intensity - how hard you should exercise
  • t for time - how long you should exercise each session

Frequency and time. To gain the health benefits of exercise, you need to exercise 3 to 7 days a week - that's the frequency. And you need to do this for at least 30 minutes a day - that's the time. If you need to lose weight, you may need to exercise more frequently and longer.

Intensity. Exercise intensity, which is how hard you exercise, varies for each person. It depends on your fitness level. You need to work out at an intensity hard enough to get the benefits but easy enough to be safe.

There are three ways to figure out the intensity you need.

  • Use the talk test.
  • Aim for your target heart rate.
  • Ask your doctor.

More to Explore