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Small Amounts of Daily Exercise May Increase Muscle Strength and Thickness

It is well known that exercising on a regular basis can provide numerous health benefits. What is less well known is how frequently a person should exercise to achieve those benefits. According to a new study, small amounts of daily exercise may be more beneficial than longer amounts of exercise spread out across the week.

The researchers enrolled 36 healthy young adults to participate in the study. They were assigned to one of three groups:

  1. Perform 6 arm resistance exercises once a week
  2. Perform 6 arm resistance exercises 5 days a week (30 arm resistance exercises per week)
  3. Perform 5 sets of 6 arm resistance exercises 1 day a week (30 arm resistance exercises per week)

Participants performed the exercises for 4 weeks. Muscle strength and muscle thickness were measured at baseline and at the end of the study period.

Participants who performed 6 exercises 5 days a week saw a 10% increase in muscle strength, compared to no increases in the other 2 groups. They also saw an increase in muscle thickness that was comparable to that seen in the group that performed 5 sets 1 day a week. The group that performed 6 exercises once a week saw no change in muscle strength or thickness.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Niigata University of Health and Welfare. It was published online ahead of print on July 31, 2022 in the  Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

A pomegranate metabolite was found to help increase muscle strength in a previous study.

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