According to the American Heart Association, you need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise each week. From elevating your mood to improving your heart health, there are plenty of amazing benefits to a regular exercise routine. Yet, only one in five adults hit this weekly target.
From busy schedules to desk jobs that leave us sitting for hours on end, it can feel difficult to reach these recommended numbers. And you might have more questions than answers on exactly how to make it all happen, like:
- How many times should I work out in a week?
- How long should I be working out?
- How do I know if my workout is moderate or high-intensity?
- Should I focus on cardio or strength training? Or both?
- If I want to lose weight, how often should I exercise? What if I want to build muscle?
How many times should I work out each week and for how long?
According to the American Heart Association, you should aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week. The best way to do this is to spread out your activity across the week, instead of trying to cram it all into one sweat session.
A great way to break this out is 30-minutes of exercise, five days a week. Or an hour of exercise three times a week. A great moderate-intensity Liteboxer workout is one of our Power Yoga Strength Training classes or an easy Freestyle session.
If the exercise you’re doing is high-intensity, you only need 75 minutes of exercise each week. That would be 15-minutes of high-intensity exercise, five days a week. Or 30-minutes of exercise three days a week. Our Liteboxer Trainer Classes, Sparring Sessions, and Punch Tracks are all great high-intensity workout options.
And if you have the time in your schedule, you can gain even more health benefits by upping your workout time to 300 minutes (or 5 hours) each week. Broken out that would be an hour of exercise five days a week or ten 30-minute Liteboxer workouts.
Need help mapping out a workout routine? Check out our 3-month workout plan for a week-by-week strategy.
How do I know if my workout is moderate or high-intensity?
Moderate and high-intensity exercise looks different for everyone. The difference between the two comes down to heart rate and your perceived level of effort.
Both moderate and high-intensity exercises elevate your heart rate. But during moderate-intensity activities, you can still hold a conversation without running out of breath. On a 0 to 10 scale of perceived effort where 0 is sitting and 10 is maximum effort, these exercises are closer to a 5 or 6. In other words, you’re working hard but you’re not giving it your all.
If you can’t hold a conversation, you’re performing a high-intensity exercise that’s pushing your body closer to your maximum heart rate. Your perceived level of effort from 0 to 10 is anywhere from a 7 to a 9, without pushing you over the edge.
You’ll notice as you work out more that your definitions of high and moderate-intensity change as your cardiovascular systems improve and as your body gets stronger. For example, a marathon runner would likely consider a 5K a moderate (or even light!) workout while someone new to running would rate that as high-intensity.
How do I use heart rate to measure the intensity of my exercise?
While the scale of perceived effort is a great, easy method for determining the intensity of an exercise, a more accurate measurement is your heart rate or the number of times your heart beats per minute.
Your maximum heart rate is the maximum number of times your heart should be beating per minute during any form of exercise. In other words, you’re giving a 10 on the perceived rate of effort scale. On average, your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age.
Once you know your maximum heart rate, all you need is a little math to calculate where an exercise falls on the intensity scale. For moderate-intensity exercise, that’s around 50-70% of your maximum heart rate. For high-intensity exercise, that’s around 70-85%.
So if you’re 25 years old your maximum heart rate is around 195 beats per minute. A high-intensity exercise would be any exercise that gets your heart rate between 137 to 166 beats per minute. And a moderate-intensity exercise would be between 98 and 137.
Here’s a table from the American Heart Association to help you easily identify that target heart rate by age:
These figures are averages, so only use them as general guidelines. For example, some medications can increase or decrease your average heart rate. For more accurate measurements, talk to your doctor or invest in a helpful fitness tracker or watch which considers more data than just your age.
How do I check my pulse? As you’re exercising, take your pulse by placing two fingers on the inside of your wrist, just below your thumb. Press lightly over the artery and count your pulse for 15 seconds. Then multiply that number by four to find your beats per minute. If you know your target heart rate ahead of time you can quickly judge the intensity of your workout and use that as a signal to give more, scale back, or maintain your current pace. Or invest in a wearable fitness tracker that does this automatically!
What if I’m just starting to work out?
If you’re new to exercise, don't focus on hitting any weekly or hourly targets or worrying about moderate or high-intensity exercises just yet. Instead, begin by building more movement into your routine. Then, slowly increase the amount and intensity of your workouts over time. From there you can start working your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise.
If you’re new to working out and looking for a fun at-home option, give Liteboxer a try. We offer a challenge for all fighters, with different classes and levels of difficulty tailored to everyone from the beginner to the experienced boxer.
And if you’re shying away from boxing because you believe it’s only for the advanced boxing pros or professional athletes, it’s time to think again. Boxing is an addictive full-body exercise that anyone can enjoy no matter your age, gender, or fitness level.
If it's the first time you’re picking up boxing gloves, we’ve got you covered with our Liteboxer Beginner Guide featuring all the tips you need to get started.
Should I focus on cardio or strength training? Or both?
Aerobic or cardiovascular fitness is any exercise that gets your heart rate up. It’s important because it helps strengthen your heart and lungs as your body learns how to efficiently increase your oxygen input and blood flow. This helps decrease your risk of stroke and heart disease, lower your blood pressure, among many other potential benefits.
And while cardio is incredibly important, you need both cardio and strength training for optimal health and wellness. While cardio builds a strong heart and lungs, strength training builds strong muscles, bones, and joints. That’s why experts recommend that you aim for at least two days per week of muscle-strengthening activities like resistance or weight training.
Luckily, some exercises like boxing build both at the same time. If you’ve ever stepped in the ring with Liteboxer you know that boxing is the ultimate form of cardio. You’re always moving when you’re boxing, whether you’re throwing punches or bobbing and weaving.
But you’ll also notice that boxing is a major strength challenge that targets almost every muscle in your body. Your legs power your movement, your hips rotate to deliver explosive power, and your core and glute muscles maintain your boxing foundation.
If I want to lose weight, how often should I exercise?
Unfortunately, there’s no one right answer to this question because there are a lot of factors at play when it comes to weight loss.
While cardiovascular fitness can burn more calories than strength training, building muscle mass through strength training helps increase your calorie-burning at rest. So if weight loss is your goal, aim for the American Heart Association’s recommended weekly targets but split your time between both strength training and cardio.
It’s also important to keep in mind that exercise is only one small piece of the weight loss puzzle. The real key is enjoying a nutritious diet of complex carbs, healthy fats, protein, and fiber alongside a regular exercise routine.
By combining a high-calorie-burning and strength-training workout like boxing with a healthy diet, you can help create a better balance between the calories you’re consuming and the calories you’re using.
What if I want to build muscle?
As for muscle gain, you’ll want to focus most of your attention on strength-training exercises that increase the load or force placed on your muscles. But that doesn't mean you should skip cardio entirely! Aim for at least an hour of cardio each week.
Boxing with Liteboxer is a great way to get the best of both worlds. In addition to being a cardio workout, boxing is also a full-body strength challenge. When you throw a punch, the force of your impact comes not only from your arms and shoulders but from your legs, hip, core, back, and glute muscles.
Working out with Liteboxer
Whether you’re just starting your workout journey or you’ve been boxing for years, Liteboxer is a great way to get (and stay) in shape. Boxing adds both cardio and strength training into your routine while having fun in the process.
And having fun is important! You’re less likely to give up on your goals if you look forward to working out. When it feels like a chore, the excuses have a way of piling up.
At Liteboxer, we’ve taken the best parts of boxing and paired them with an interactive and beat-driven digital experience. We combine hardware, game dynamics, hit music, and expert training all into one high-intensity workout that’s as fun as playing a video game (and with Liteboxer VR it pretty much is a video game!).
When it’s this fun to workout it makes hitting that weekly target of 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise that much easier. You’re only five 15-minute Liteboxer workouts away from hitting your goal!