Exercise frequency does not matter – study

When it comes to exercising, the frequency might not matter at all, researchers now claim.

According to the findings of a new study, as long as one gets the recommended amount of weekly exercise, it does not matter how the exercise routine is spaced.

In the UK, 150 minutes of weekly exercise is what is recommended to maintain a good health. Exercise includes moderate to vigorous activity such as walking, cycling or running.

The study
For the purpose of the study, researchers recruited 2,324 adults all of whom were required to measure their activity over a period of seven days. The participants wore an accelerometer, a device that recorded their movements.

The participants were divided into two groups – the first that was physically active for at least 150 minutes a week, and the second that exercised for less than 150 minutes a week.

People in the first group were further divided into two sections. While the members of the first group, called the frequently active, exercised for more than five days a week and members of the second group, the infrequently active, exercised between one and four days a week.

The researchers compared the activity of members of all groups to check which one was most susceptible to have a condition called metabolic syndrome, the condition that places people at high risk of heart disease and strokes. Metabolic syndrome includes symptoms such as high blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels and waist circumference.

Findings of the study
Researchers found that participants in the infrequently active group were more likely to be diagnosed with the metabolic syndrome than people who formed the frequently active group.

“The findings indicate that it does not matter how adults choose to accumulate their 150 weekly minutes of physical activity,” study’s lead researcher, Ian Janssen, from Queen’s University, said.

“For instance, someone who did not perform any physical activity on Monday to Friday but was active for 150 minutes over the week-end would obtain the same health benefits from their activity as someone who accumulated 150 minutes of activity over the week by doing 20-25 minutes of activity on a daily basis,” Janssen said.

“The important message is that adults should aim to accumulate at least 150 minutes of weekly physical activity in whatever pattern that works for their schedule,” Janssen said.

The findings of the study were published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.