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Is It Safe to Exercise Twice a Day?

woman jumping up stairs outside
Since working out once a day can be good, is twice better?
by Cheryl S. Grant

Done with your morning run and feeling like a champ? Woohoo! If you are still looking to hit the gym on your way home, you might be wondering whether it's safe to exercise twice a day. Don't fret — we have answers.

The Right Reasons

When it comes to doing double sessions at the gym, there are many good reasons to head back for another workout — but it's important to not overdo it. If you've been working out for a while and are looking to take your performance to the next level, there's nothing wrong with another gym visit. But if you're new to working out and think you need to hit the gym twice a day to see the results you want, you may want to rethink a double session!

Meeting your goals takes time and patience is key. Overworking your muscles by going back for another workout, especially when you're new to the gym, can heighten your risk of injury and potentially cause you to feel burned out.

Meeting the Guidelines

Timing can be an important consideration when you schedule your workouts, and breaking up a workout into two separate sessions can help you reach your goals while still tending to the other items on your daily list! Generally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. You can be flexible about how you go about this — it may break down to about 20 to 40 minutes a day seven days a week or 30 to 60 minutes five days a week with two rest days. And if you don't have this much time to spare on a busy day, even a 10-minute workout is better than nothing at all!

No matter how you break your workouts down, you should aim for a balance between cardio (such as biking, hiking, or brisk walking) and resistance training (such as bodyweight exercises or weight training).

Balance It Out

To avoid running the risk of overusing or straining a muscle, try to mix up your workout routines. If you plan on breaking up your daily workout into two sessions, consider doing cardio earlier in the day and strength training later on (or vice versa) so you're not overworking certain muscles. You could enjoy a light run in the morning to wake you up and then head to the gym for 20 or so minutes of resistance training after work — as long as you feel up to it and don't overexert yourself!

It's also key to give yourself enough time between workouts to recover. If you work out twice in one day, maybe take the next day off — or simply enjoy a relaxing walk. This gives your muscles time to rest! That way, when you start your next workout, you'll likely feel more energized and motivated. And just as you wouldn't drive your car without gas, it's important that you eat well-balanced meals with carbs, fiber, and protein if you plan to exercise twice a day!

How Much Is Too Much?

If you exercise too much, you run the risk of doing more harm than good. Overtraining can lead to a gamut of possible issues, like burnout and overuse injuries — which can make it so you don't work out at all. Long-term endurance exercise has even been linked to other rare but serious concerns like changes in the structure of the heart, fibrosis, and enlarged arteries. Be cautious and consult your physician if you are among those who push themselves by competing in extreme activities such as marathons, ultramarathons, or long-distance bicycle races.

Even if you don't participate in those extreme sports, it's still best to find your sweet spot and avoid overdoing it at the gym.Engaging in intense physical activity for more than 60 minutes a day can cause adverse health effects. So while it's fantastic to be excited about working out and taking care of yourself, be sure to listen to your body! Build endurance by visiting the gym regularly and paying attention to how you're feeling. If you're not feeling 100%, don't force yourself through a gym session. Simply sticking to a healthy lifestyle is what's really important, so take your rest days when you need them. As with most things, moderation is key!

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.