Total Amount Of Exercise Important, Not Frequency, Research Shows

150 minutes of aerobic exercise

Research published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism suggests adults who accumulate 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a few days of the week are not any less healthy than adults who exercise more frequently in the same time-frame.

Aerobic exercise, more commonly referred to as cardio, is physical exercise of moderate intensity – 60 to 85 percent of maximum heart rate. Aerobic refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism.

Exercise in general is excellent for overall well being, memory, and stress management.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, recommends adults aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly which equates to 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-aerobic intensity, such as brisk walking along with muscle-strengthening two or more days a week – working all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

The study outlined whether or not the frequency of the exercise made a difference as people can’t always engage in it regularly. Schedules can become unexpectedly hectic, requiring one to fit it in when able.

In order to determine these results, Queen’s University researchers – Ian Janssen and his graduate student Janine Clarke – studied 2,324 adults across Canada.

Contributors were divided into groups defined by their physical activity: those who were frequently active – active five to seven days of the week and infrequently active – active one to four days of the week. Physical activity was measured by having research participants wear accelerometers – electrical devices that register and record movement and acceleration.

According to Dr. Janssen, in the NRC Research Press:

“The findings indicate that it does not matter how adults choose to accumulate their 150 weekly minutes of physical activity. For instance, someone who did not perform any physical activity on Monday to Friday but was active for 150 minutes over the weekend 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.”

[Image via Shutterstock]