Why You Need to Spread Out Your Workouts

The benefits: metabolism, motivation, muscle growth and more

Another strike against weekend warriors: spreading your exercise out evenly over the course of the week seems to have several advantages over bunching it up over a few days.  The short-term affects of exercise, such as a metabolism boost that helps fend off diabetes, diminish fairly quickly after a workout. The best way to maintain this and other benefits is to scatter your workouts throughout the week, according to a post by The New York Times’ Well Blog.

The idea is that instead of clustering workouts to midweek or on weekends, working out every other day or two is a better option. That way, as your workout’s short-term boosts fade, it's time to go again.  This also helps motivation.  Studies have shown that the recent memory of feeling great after a workout helps power you on to the next one.

The spread-it-out approach may also be good for preventing injury too. Muscles gain small tears, when you workout, and repeating those same tears day after day after day lengthens recovery time. Not resting also denies your muscles a chance to get bigger and/or stronger because muscles grow when they are not in use. (They also grow when you’re sleeping.)

A break doesn’t mean spending the day on the couch. The National Institutes of Health recommends getting 30 minutes of exercise a day. The trick is to mix it up by doing something different on a rest day. Go for a walk or take a gentle yoga class. Do something that has a lower impact on your body and affects different muscles than the usual routine. 

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