How much exercise is healthy?
Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Working out regularly is important to stay physically and mentally healthy and to keep your immune system strong. However, if you over-exercise, your immune system can get weakened.
With that said - if you exercise for health reasons - it is important to find the right balance between an amount of exercise that strengthens the immune system and an amount of exercise that weakens the immune system.
How much exercise is healthy?
According to the WHO (World Health Organisation) and most other health institutions, there is a MINIMUM AMOUNT of (1) aerobic exercises, (2) muscle-strengthening exercises, and (3) muscle lengthening exercises considered to improve overall health and immunity:
1. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (yoga, walking, hiking, dancing, easy cycling or swimming) of 150 minutes a week - ideally 20-30 minutes every single day, or
Powerful aerobic exercise (running, HIIT workout, hilly bike ride, aerobics, gymnastics, fast-swimming) of 75 minutes per week - ideally 25 minutes on 3 days a week.
2. Muscle-strengthening exercises, such as body weight-, resistance band-, or weight lifting exercises of about 40 minutes a week - ideally 20 minutes on 2 days a week.
For best health benefits, spread out the above exercises throughout the week rather than getting them all done in 1 or 2 days.
How much exercise is unhealthy?
For an active person, a competitive runner or athlete, the minimum amount of exercise probably doesn't sound much and you can certainly do more.
However, while every individual has its own exercise-tolerance, there is a popular rule of thumb that everyone can follow: It is called the 60-60 rule which is based on a study that showed that athletes who worked out more than 60 minutes over 60% of their maximum heart rate are weakening their immune system. In other words: If you want to protect your health and immunity, it is recommended to stay under 60% of your maximum heart rate if you are working out for more than 60 minutes, or to keep the workout under 60 minutes if you are pushing your heart rate over 60% of your maximum heart rate.
What if I exceed the recommended exercise-threshold?
If you are exercising more than the recommended exercise-threshold, it can jeopardize your immune system. The good news is that you can do something about it:
If you are training hard, you should be taking extra care of your body by getting enough sleep (7-8 hours of quality sleep per night), reducing mental stress, eating a healthy diet, and hydrating well with water and electrolytes.
Electrolytes are essential for optimal hydration and fluid balance, meaning that about 25% of your daily fluid intake should include electrolytes in order for water to be absorbed into the bloodstream instead of just being flushed out. BIX hydration tablets contain the 4 main electrolytes magnesium (150 mg), sodium (150 mg), calcium (50 mg), and potassium (50 mg) for optimal recovery, hydration, and wellbeing.
In order to stay hydrated, a consistent intake of water and electrolytes throughout the day will result in the best fluid absorption rather than drinking big amounts of fluids in one go.