When you start to get involved in exercise and work on your fitness, you may come to realise just how unfit you are. And it’s an uncomfortable feeling. You feel sweaty, out of breath, and your heart rate takes a long time to settle. Will it always be like that?
Your heart rate should always rise with exercise, and getting sweaty is all part of it. However, the more exercise you do, the fitter you become. Read on to learn about how long it takes to get fit and what that looks like.
The Six-Week Miracle
There are many marketing campaigns out there that promise you will get fit, healthy, and even ripped in just six weeks. It sounds like a miracle, or too good to be true. Studies show that it is. Twenty-five sedentary men were put through a six-week exercise programme to see if you could get fit in that amount of time.
They completed three 20-minute cardio sessions in a week or three 30-minute high-intensity strength training sessions. At the end of those six weeks, the men’s appearances remained unchanged.
Their body fat percentage, number of push-ups they could achieve, and oxygen efficiency also remained unchanged. So, six weeks isn’t the miracle number many people thought.
How long it takes you to become fit can depend on your goals. There is no set timeframe for achieving your premium level of fitness through exercise.
Your goals dictate the type of exercise you do and what you achieve. For example, the activity you do for losing weight or body fat may differ from those you do to feel and be stronger. What’s more, anyone training for a 5km race will get in shape quicker than someone training for a marathon. They both require different levels of fitness.
You may notice a change in your fitness level within a matter of weeks, but the changes are small. You may be less out of breath after climbing stairs, or you may be able to play with the kids for longer before wearing yourself out. There are, of course, mental benefits associated with these changes, as well.
Getting Fit for Events
If all you want to accomplish is being able to climb a flight of stairs without being out of breath, you can get “fit” for that task in just a few weeks. Events, though, are a bit different. Marathons, triathlons, bike rides, and running races require more training, more practice, and more fitness.
You would need to start training months before the event, to be over-prepared, rather than just fit enough for the event. You would also need to spend up to six days a week training, including running, walking, rowing, and biking for miles every week.
Your definition of fitness can also depend on the task at hand. For example, you may not be all that prepared for a week-long hiking trip if your idea of fitness training was daily walks around the block. Studies show it can take around five days of backpacking to get into shape for hiking.
How long it takes to get fit ultimately depends on the activity for which you’re trying to get fit. If you’re getting ready for something special, consult a personal trainer. They’ll have you fighting fit by the time D-day rolls around.