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How often you exercise is more important than how intense your workouts may be, according to researchers from Edith Cowan University in Australia. 

What to know:

  • A small amount of exercise regularly each week is more effective than just spending hours going to the gym once a week.

  • Muscles respond better when doing resistance exercises in smaller doses daily rather than by doing more intense workouts less frequently.

  • Groups of exercisers who did just six heavy bicep curls daily for five days a week developed more muscle strength and muscle thickness than those who did the same number of curls all in one day or those who did six curls one day a week.

  • Muscles need rest to improve their strength and their muscle mass, but muscles, researchers found, apparently like to be stimulated more frequently and there is no apparent value in trying to “make up” for missed exercise with a longer session later.

  • Maintaining muscle mass is important in prevention of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, dementia, warfarin to apixaban and musculoskeletal problems such as osteoporosis.

This is a summary of the article “Greater effects by performing a small number of eccentric contractions daily than a larger number of them once a week,” published by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports on July 31, 2022. The full article can be found on onlinelibrary.wiley.com.

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