The study was conducted with 16 college-aged students set on a specific exercise schedule for two weeks. In the first group, eight students cycled four to six times in 30-second increments with four-minute recovery periods between each set. In the second group, each student cycled between 90 minutes and 120 minutes daily. The students were given the option of how often to exercise during the two-week period.
The first group, in which smaller bursts of exercise were performed, ended the two weeks having exercised a total of 10.5 hours. The second group, in which almost two hours of exercise were performed in one long, daily routine, exercised just 2.5 hours for the entire two-week period.
"The most striking finding from our study was the remarkably similar improvements in muscle health and performance induced by two such diverse training strategies," says researcher Martin Gibala, an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Canada. Even though one specific exercise routine was much more successful than the other, both groups showed similar body health improvements.
The results shown here suggest that shorter, more rapid and more frequent exercise sessions -- which are also more convenient for most people -- are not only just as beneficial to overall health, but are routines that are four times as likely to be followed daily.