Experts say it's about how often you exercise, not how much

·2-min read

Frequency of exercise rather than single lengthy sessions are more beneficial for your health, new research has suggested.

Experts have been trying to find out whether a little bit of activity every day is better than doing a lot of exercise across fewer sessions.

A sports science professor said the work found "if you're just going 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 "just lowering a dumbbell slowly once or six times a day" is more beneficial than long periods at the gym.

The research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia in collaboration with Niigata University and Nishikyushu University in Japan saw three groups of participants performing arm resistance exercises.

Volunteers carried out 30 bicep contractions on a machine every week. One group did six contractions daily for five days - another crammed all 30 into one day. A further group performed just six contractions a week.

Changes in muscle strength and thickness was compared across all participants.

The group spreading the activity across five days saw the biggest increase in muscle strength - a rise of more than 10%.

ECU Exercise and Sports Science Professor Ken Nosaka said: "People think they have to do a lengthy session of resistance training in the gym, but that's not the case.

"Just lowering a heavy dumbbell slowly once or six times a day is enough.

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"Muscle strength is important to our health. This could help prevent a decrease in muscle mass and strength with ageing.

"A decrease in muscle mass is a cause of chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, dementia, plus musculoskeletal problems such as osteoporosis.

"Muscle adaptions occur when we are resting - if someone was able to somehow train 24 hours a day, there would actually be no improvement at all."