More people than ever seem to understand why strength training (most commonly performed under the guise of weight lifting) helps overall fitness: it helps you retain and expand lean muscle when dieting, increases your metabolism when at rest, improves joint resiliency and bone density, and of course increases your strength. But what many are not sure of is how often they should perform strength exercises each week. Let's talk about it, but to do so in this forum requires some assumptions.
-You are physically well enough to participate in an exercise program with few or no restrictions
-You make at least 30 minutes to exercise on the days you do exercise
-You are an adult over the age of 25 but not a competitive athlete preparing for a match or race (rules change completely in this case)
If you fit the above criteria, my advice to you is this: strength train twice a week and do cardio the rest of the week. For the general fitness enthusiast, strength training the full body twice a week is sufficient to make gains in the aforementioned areas. If you devoted extra time each week to exercise, three non sequential days of strength training would be fine, but I'd urge you to finish the workouts in under 45 minutes. Otherwise load the cardio. Most people are overweight, so the cardio is going to provide the bulk of the calorie burn. 30 minutes is a good minimum time for cardio respiratory training, but as much time as you are able to devote each day is fine in most cases. 3-4 days of cardio, 2 of strength training, and one day off (with an option to walk or do more cardio) is a typical mix. Give it a try and let me know how it's working!!!