Total amount of exercise important, not frequency, research shows

June 20, 2013

A new study by Queen's University researchers has determined that adults who accumulated 150 minutes of exercise on a few days of the week were not any less healthy than adults who exercised more frequently throughout the week.

Ian Janssen and his graduate student Janine Clarke studied 2,324 adults from across Canada to determine whether the frequency of physical activity throughout the week is associated with risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

"The findings indicate that it does not matter how adults choose to accumulate their 150 weekly minutes of physical activity," says Dr. Janssen. "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 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."

Physical activity was measured continuously throughout the week by having research participants wear on their waists. Accelerometers are tiny (about the size of a small package of matches) that record how much a person moves every minute.

Dr. Janssen divided the adults who met the (more than 150 minutes per week of ) into those who were frequently active (active five to seven days of the week) and infrequently active (active one to four days of the week).

"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."

Explore further: Exercise can extend your life by as much as five years, researchers find

More information: The paper was published today in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism and is available open access at www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/apnm-2013-0049#.UcMH7Jzm_Wg

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