A new research finds that a little bit of daily activity is much more beneficial than longer periods of exercise. In collaboration with Niigata University and Nishi Kyushu University in Japan, the four-week training study was conducted in three groups of participants performing an arm resistance exercise. The changes in their muscle strength and muscle thickness were measured and compared later for results.
The first two groups performed 30 contractions per week, with one group doing six contractions a day for five days a week. Where as the other crammed all 30 into a single day, once a week. Another group only performed six contractions just one day a week.
After four weeks of observation, the group doing 30 contractions in a single day did not show any increase in muscle strength, although muscle thickness increased by 5.8 percent. The group doing six contractions once a week did not show any changes in terms of muscle strength and muscle thickness. On the other hand, the 6x5 group saw significant increases of ten percent in muscle strength.
ECU Exercise and Sports Science Professor Ken Nosaka said these studies continue to suggest very manageable amounts of exercise done regularly can have a real effect on people's core strength. Talking along the lines he said, "People think they have to do a lengthy session of resistance training in the gym, but that's not always the case. Just lowering a heavy dumbbell slowly once or six times a day is enough of daily exercising."
"We only used the bicep curl exercise in this study, but this would be the case for other muscles as well, at least to some extent. Muscle strength is extremely important to our health. This could help in preventing a decrease in muscle mass and strength with ageing. A decrease in muscle mass is a cause of many chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, dementia, plus musculoskeletal problems such as osteoporosis," Professor Nosaka added.
Although, the reason is not yet known precisely why the body responds better to resistance exercises in smaller doses rather than bigger loads less frequently.
Professor Nosaka said, "Muscle adaptations occur when we are resting; if someone was able to somehow train 24 hours a day, there would actually be no improvement at all. Muscles need rest so that they improve their strength and muscle mass, but muscles appear to like to be stimulated more frequently."
"If someone's sick and can't exercise for a week, that's fine, but it is better to just return to regular exercise routine when you're feeling better," he added.