TIME is the next element of the FITT Principle – a norm used to get the most out of your workouts. Time refers to the duration of one exercise session and is significant to achieving gains. What are some mainstream recommendations? The length of a cardio session is contingent firstly on training experience. Take the case of Rustom – alarmed at his poor stamina, and resolving to set things right, he signed up at the gym. Being a newbie to exercise, his head trainer has recommended each session to be a non-stop 25-minute brisk walk for the next 2 weeks. Is that enough? Well, the short duration will enable Rustom to be competent enough to take on longer duration of exercise. In due course, with steady improvement in endurance, the duration will be 50- 60 minutes of the activity he enjoys – swimming, cycling or running.
Rushaad, a football enthusiast, wants to improve his game. He never misses his runs that he enjoys 2-3 times a week. With tournament season around the corner, Rushaad seeks to improve his speed and power. His coach has appropriately put him on speed intervals – also called high intensity interval training (HIIT). This vigorous type of training, challenging to both the cardiovascular and muscular systems, is limited to 20-25 minutes. Therefore, the type of cardio training influences Time.
Hufrize wants to run the half-marathon this September. For the fifth time, she will proudly collect her medal! Since she is a seasoned runner, her coach has advised her to do long runs regularly. The practice 15 km runs will take her roughly 90 minutes. Hence, the goal and distance also influence the duration in cardio training.
In the case of strength training, duration of the weight training session is not of prominence. Strength training is done in sets. And there is a period of rest after each set. It takes about 4 weeks to make the body efficient at a new exercise. Practicing the squat, for example, teaches the brain to fire the correct muscles to achieve the desired motion, enhancing brain-body coordination. This way, exercise becomes ingrained and the movement becomes more automatic due to neural adaptations. It takes about 6-12 weeks of training to see visible changes in the size of muscle (hypertrophy). You should stretch at the end of all cardio and strength sessions. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds. Repeating stretches will increase flexibility.
To conclude, how long you should exercise will typically depend on your fitness level and the type of workout you are doing. Duration of exercise is significant to having good physiological changes in our body’s systems. In the words of Miles Davis, “Time isn’t the main thing; it is the only thing.”
Senior Faculty (Exercise Science)
K11 Academy of Fitness Sciences
Fitness Icon Kaizzad Capadia