How much cardio should you do?

How often should you do cardiovascular exercise?

You might hear lots of different answers to this question. Some people say every day and others may say a couple days a week. You might see people working out for an hour or others just 15 minutes intensely.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) have some great guidelines to follow…

  • 30 minutes for 5 days a week at a moderate intensity


  • 20-25 minutes of vigorous exercise 3 or more days a week

What is moderate intensity and vigorous exercise?

Moderate intensity is classified at working at 40-60% of your maximum heart rate. You will be getting a sweat on, but you will still be able to hold a conversation. This could be going for a brisk walk, taking part in a dance class or even going on a bike ride with the family.

Vigorous exercise is classified at working at 60-85% of your maximum heart rate. Your heart will be beating a lot quicker, you will become more breathless and you will not be able to maintain the intensity for as long, therefore these sessions are shorter. People may do an interval session or participate in a spin class to make sure they are working at this intensity.


Should I work at a moderate or higher intensity?

If you are new to exercise I would work at a moderate intensity. I recommend a lot of my clients to increase their cardiovascular fitness by taking the dog out for a walk or going for a swim or bike ride with the kids.

If you have a good level of fitness and can increase your heart rate to work harder then you could start working at a higher intensity. You could also mix your exercise sessions to include some moderate intensity and some higher intensity sessions.


I hope this blog helps you to understand the frequency of cardiovascular exercise and the types and intensity you can work at too.