How should I increase my cardio exercise?

How should I increase my cardio exercise?

Increase your total exercise time by 20% or less each week.

Increase your total cardiovascular exercise time by no more than 20% each week until you reach the maximum amount of exercise you are willing to maintain.

Gradually increase your exercise to help prevent sore muscles, injury, burnout or other factors that could prevent you from continuing to exercise.

For example if you currently get 60 minutes of exercise per week, increase your exercise by no more than 12 minutes the next week, for a total of no more than 72 minutes.

Here’s the math:

60 minutes this week x 20% increase (0.20) = no more than 12 minutes next week.
60 minutes this week + 12 minutes/week = no more than72 minutes next week.

Here’s an example of how to gradually increase your exercise over 4 weeks:

Week Minutes/week Increase (< 20%) Minutes next week
1 60 minutes + 12 minutes 72 minutes
2 72 minutes + 13 minutes 85 minutes
3 85 minutes + 15 minutes 100 minutes
4 100 minutes + 20 minutes 120 minutes

Progress your exercise at your own pace. Only you know what is realistic
for you.

ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 7th edition (2006)
ACSM Position Stand: Appropriate Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Gain for Adults

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Stephanie Averkamp

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Stephanie Averkamp

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