How Often You Exercise Is More Important Than How Much

The results of a study suggest that a small amount of daily exercise is a more effective approach for strengthening muscle as opposed to exercising for a longer time just once a week.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1111/sms.14220

The 4-week training study had 3 groups of individuals engaging in an arm resistance exercise and then muscle thickness and strength changes were measured and comparisons made.

The ‘maximal voluntary eccentric bicep contraction’ exercises were conducted on a muscle strength machine that measured each muscle contraction.

An eccentric contraction is when the muscle is lengthened such as when a heavy dumbbell is lowered in a bicep curl.

Two groups of individuals completed 30 weekly contractions, with 1 group finishing 6 daily contractions for 5 days per week, while the other group finished all 30 contractions in one day, once per week. Another group performed only 6 contractions 1 day per week.

The 30×1 group didn't show any muscle strength increase after 4 weeks, although a 5.8% increase in muscle thickness was seen.

The 6×1 group didn't show any muscle thickness and muscle strength changes.

The 6×5 group however saw a significant muscle strength increase of more than 10%, with a muscle thickness increase similar to the 30×1 group.

The 6×5 group muscle strength increase was comparable to that of a group in an earlier study that carried out only one 3-second maximal eccentric daily contraction 5 days a week for 4 weeks.

The study results indicate that manageable amounts of exercise performed regularly can have a significant effect on muscle strength. A heavy dumbbell lowered slowly just 1 to 6 times a day will do.

Muscle strength is important to health and could help prevent age-related reduction in muscle mass and strength.

Muscle mass reduction is a reason for many chronic diseases which includes dementia, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, as well as musculoskeletal problems like osteoporosis.

It's also important that rest is included in an exercise program as muscle changes take place when resting. Muscles require rest to improve their muscle mass and strength, but muscles seem to prefer being stimulated more often.

More emphasis should be placed on making exercise a daily activity, instead of reaching a time goal each week. Visiting the gym just once a week is less effective than exercising a bit every day at home.

This study, along with earlier research, shows how important it is to accumulate a small amount of exercise every week, compared to just a large amount of exercise once a week. Every muscle contraction counts, and how often they are performed is what's important.

How Often You Exercise Is More Important Than How Much

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