When it comes to exercise, there are do’s and don’ts that should be followed. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week, as well as at least two to three days a week of strength training and flexibility exercises per week. However, they don’t provide a nice, neat schedule for you, so determining when you work out what muscles must be decided by you, and this includes specific muscle groups, such as the legs. However, there are general rules to follow when it comes to exercise and working out the same muscle groups.
When it comes to strength training, you should not work out your legs every day. When you place resistance on your muscles, such as with weights or resistance bands, you are essentially creating small tears in your muscle fibers. Your body then goes into repair mode to fix these small tears. These repairs are what eventually lead to an increase in muscle mass. However, your body requires time for these repairs to take place. Muscles require at least 48 hours of rest in between workouts. American Council on Exercise expert Julia Valentour points out that large muscle groups, such as the quadriceps and hamstrings, can require as much as 72 hours of recovery.
Stretching and Flexibility
Stretching exercises, however, are a different story. Stretching exercises lengthen muscles, increase flexibility and joint range of motion, as well as reduce the risk of injuries. Unlike strength training, stretching exercises can be done every day and are actually encouraged in order to increase or maintain flexibility. A variety of stretching exercises, such as calf raises, target the muscles of the legs. These provide a way to work out your leg muscles daily while increasing the flexibility.
If you look back at those exercise recommendations, you see that they recommend at least 150 minutes of cardio exercise a week. If you break that down into seven days, it works out to just over 20 minutes a day. For cardio exercise, the goal is to increase your heart rate and target large muscle groups in repetitive movement. A 20-minute brisk walk would fulfill your cardio requirement while helping to tone the muscles in the legs. In this way, you can work out your leg muscles daily.
While you can work on your leg muscles daily, how you work on them needs to be the focus. Before starting a new exercise program, talk with a health care provider about any possible medical concerns you may have. Regardless of the type of exercise you are performing, you should never experience pain when exercising. If you do, stop the exercise immediately and allow your muscles to rest.
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Issues New Recommendations on Quantity and Quality of Exercise
- American Council on Exercise: If My Muscles Are Sore From Previous Workouts, Is It Safe to Exercise Them?
- MayoClinic.com: Stretching: Focus on Flexibility
- Georgia State University: Flexibility
- Rogue Community College: Walking for Health and Fitness
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.