At least that's what a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham determined. According to the results published in Exercise & Science in Sports & Medicine, four workouts a week might be the sweet spot.
"We think that the women in the twice-a-week and four-times-a-week groups felt more energized and physically capable" after several months of training than they had at the start of the study, says Gary Hunter, a U.A.B. professor who led the experiment. Based on conversations with the women, he says he thinks they began opting for stairs over escalators and walking for pleasure.
The women working out six times a week, though, reacted very differently. "They complained to us that working out six times a week took too much time," Dr. Hunter says.
Rather, they felt pressed for time and reacted, it seems, by making choices like driving instead of walking and impatiently avoiding the stairs"
Just from my experience, I've found the less is more approach to be more effective. When I was training for marathons, I gained weight because I ate more and was so tired that I was pretty much a sloth the rest of the day. When I exercise too much during the week, say six times, the workouts aren't the highest quality. There's can be a "going through the motions" aspect to them.
My sweet spot is around five workouts a week with one of those five being a simple power walk with the family. That's something any of us can do. The workouts don't have to be long ones either. 30-45 minutes of quality exercise. I did just that this Friday morning with one Texas Rangers executive before our day began at spring training.