Exercise frequency rather than long single sessions is more beneficial to your health, according to new research.
Experts have tried to find out if it is better to do a little physical activity each day than to do a lot of exercise in fewer sessions.
A sports science professor said the work found that “if you only go to the gym once a week, it’s not as effective as doing a bit of exercise every day at home “.
The four-week training study also found that “just slowly lowering a dumbbell once or six times a day” is more beneficial than long periods in the gym.
Research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia in collaboration with Niigata University and Nishikyushu University in Japan saw three groups of participants perform arm resistance exercises.
The volunteers performed 30 biceps contractions on a machine each week. One group did six contractions a day for five days – another crammed all 30 into a single day. Another group performed only six contractions per week.
Changes in muscle strength and thickness were compared between all participants.
The group that spread the activity over five days experienced the greatest increase in muscle strength – an increase of more than 10%.
Ken Nosaka, professor of exercise and sports science at ECU, said: “People think they have to do a long resistance training session in the gym, but that’s not the case.
“Just slowly lower a heavy dumbbell once or six times a day.
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“Muscle strength is important for our health. This could help prevent a decline in muscle mass and strength with aging.
“A decrease in muscle mass is a cause of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, dementia, as well as musculoskeletal problems such as osteoporosis.
“Muscular adaptations happen when we rest – if someone was able to train somehow 24 hours a day, there would actually be no improvement.”