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Hitting Daily Activity Goals for Results

Training more often matters more.

Teenagers getting their daily activity on a tennis court

Heads up for all weekend warriors! When it comes to hitting training goals, daily activity may be more important than meeting a weekly total minute goal, particularly if that goal is accomplished in only one session, according to findings in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports (2022; doi:10.1111/sms.14220).

Researchers from institutions in Japan and Australia collaborated with three groups of healthy young adults doing sets of six maximal muscular contractions. One group performed one set on 1 day; another group did one set on each of 5 days; and the third group did five sets all on 1 day.

Members of the 5-days-per-week group of daily activity experienced significant increases in both muscle strength and muscle thickness—more than those in the once-weekly training groups. Those who did only 1 set per week experienced no measurable muscular changes.

“Muscles need rest to improve their strength and their muscle mass, but muscles appear to like to be stimulated more frequently,” said study author Ken Kazunori Nosaka, PhD, director of exercise and sports science, Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. “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. We need to know that every muscle contraction counts, and it’s how regularly you perform them that counts.”

See also: Text Messaging Can Boost Daily Walking

Shirley Eichenberger-Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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