How Much Time Should I Spend in the Gym?

fitness-model-workout-routine-1People often ask me how much time they should spend in the gym.

The truth is, the answer varies from person to person and it depends on your goals, your schedule and your current gym commitment. There’s certainly no short answer, but a new study by researchers at Teachers College, Columbia University is shedding some new light.

Most people understand that exercise is associated not just with improved physical health, but also improved mental health. But is more exercise always better? The answer may be a bit surprising.

After examining data from 7,674 adults, researchers determined that 2.5 – 7.5 hours of exercise per week may be the sweet spot. Exercising more than 7.5 hours was associated with diminished mental health and sharp increases in depression or anxiety.

Because this is the first study confirming that too much exercise can be related to poor mental health, more research is needed. It’s unclear if the poor mental health is because of the excessive exercise (perhaps a symptom of overtraining) or if people with poor mental health exercise excessively as a way to elevate their mood. In other words, it remains to be seen whether or not there is a causal relationship.

It’s also worth noting that more exercise may not be better for improved physical health either. A handful of new studies speculate, for example, that running more than 30 miles per week may diminish its longevity benefits. These findings are especially troubling for endurance athletes and marathoners who may train upwards of 100 miles per week.

In a nutshell, spending time exercising is a good thing – and it can help boost your mental and physical health. But, like anything else, exercise is best in moderation.

About Davey Wavey

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  1. Have you thought about that the people who exercise more than 7.5h a week might not have the mental health in the first place? :/
    Just a thought, though..

  2. christopher says:

    75 minutes the max for lower or upper body workout plus cardio.and not every workout.i never heard of overtraining leading to depression.must be a new finding.

  3. Charley says:

    As an older guy I need my recovery time. I spend 6 hours a week in the gym, over three days. I believe the key is the variety in your workout. Two hours of lifting, for example, would be counter- productive. I usually do about 40 minutes weight training, 5 minutes core training, 25 minutes cardio, 10 minutes abs and 15 minutes yoga-stretching. No long breaks for gabbing. And every 12 weeks I take a week off to re-charge. Works well for me.

  4. I love the picture, but my gym makes me wear a shirt, though I do get to make up for it by blow drying my hair without the customary towel in the locker room. If you look fab ulous you should share it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Davey, you are an inspiration!

  5. More than 7.5 hours of exercise a week was “associated with diminished mental health and sharp increases in depression or anxiety.” This explains why my schoolwork suffered when I was playing football in high school. We would practice from after school way into the night 5 days a week. I guess the coaches were working us too long.
    I think most adults fall on the opposite end of the spectrum and get too little exercise.


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