Is it safe to work out more than once a day?

July 8, 2013

For major fitness enthusiasts, sometimes working out just once a day isn’t enough. Whether you’re training for a marathon, focusing on building muscle, losing weight, or are addicted to the endorphin rush you get from exercising, working out more than once a day sometimes seems like a great idea. While exercising is undoubtedly important for your health, this begs the question: Is it possible to overdo it? In other words, is it safe to work out more than once a day?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 participate in at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, and do muscle-strengthening activities at least two day per week. Moderate-intensity activities include everything from walking on your home treadmill to pushing a lawn mower. You can decrease the amount of time spent on aerobic activity each week by upping its intensity – jogging on a TRUE Fitness treadmill or swimming laps.

But what if you want to increase the amount of time you exercise, not decrease it?

“Two-a-day workouts can be especially useful, and if used wisely, might lead to safer, more effective training,” Dr. John Mandrola, a cardiac electrophysiologist, told Greatist.

While exercising twice a day isn’t necessary for most people – particularly if you participate in other daily physical activities, like biking to work – it’s OK to increase the frequency of your work routine if it’s done safely.

The potential problem with workout splits or two-a-days is that your body does not have as much time to rest. It’s critical that your muscles have enough time to recover in between workouts, so if you’re going to work out more than once a day, it’s important that you pay particular attention to which muscle groups you are targeting.

For example, if you like to start off your mornings by running a mile or two on a fitness treadmill, target your shoulders with weights in the afternoon. You would never want to run and use exercise bike equipment on the same day, because you could be in danger of overworking your legs.

If you’re going to exercise more frequently, you also need to pay attention to what you’re eating, because you’ll be burning significantly more calories. Make staying hydrated a priority, and be sure you’re ingesting healthy pre- and post-workout snacks that will keep your energy up and help your muscles recover – protein is particularly important. If you take the right safety measures, you should be able to exercise to your heart’s content!