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The Idea That “Some People Just Don’t Respond To Exercise” May Be A Myth, According to Research



Did you know that everyone responds to exercise differently? If you take a group of people and put them on the same workout program for three weeks, some will dramatically improve, others may not change at all and in some cases, a few people will appear less fit.

Previously, researchers thought that some people are “non-responders“, meaning that exercise just doesn’t work for them.

However, recent research is starting to show that the idea of “non-responders” is a myth.

What does the research say?

One recent study found that people respond differently to different kinds of workouts. For some, endurance workouts led quick transformation, whereas for others sprints would have a greater impact.

The important point is that everyone responded to something.

Now a new study reveals more, although this one comes with some tough advice.

Everyone responds to workouts in some way, according to newly published research in Journal of Physiology, which was reported on in Alex Hutchinson’s Sweat Science column at Runner’s World.

Some people just need to do more workouts to see results.

This particular study took 78 healthy adults and divided them into five groups, with each going through one, two, three, four, or five 60-minute workouts every week for six weeks.

Most people who did only one workout each week didn’t become more fit because of the training, but there were also seeming “non-responders” in the groups that worked out two and three times per week.

So people who had initially been doing one 60-minute workout each week transitioned to three 60-minute workouts (or 3 hours of exercise total) each week, and people who’d been doing 3 hours of exercise each week were increased to five.

The important point: everyone’s power and cardiovascular fitness improved.

What’s the main point?

The researchers explained this indicated that exercise is “dose-dependent”, which means that if you’re body isn’t responding to training, you need to do more of it.

It sounds tough, but these are encouraging findings.

That’s because even modest levels of fitness provide “impressive protection” for health and mortality.

The recommended amount of exercise per week is 150 minutes. Now that we know this is relevant to all of us, and that some of us need to do more than others, it should encourage us to build as much physical activity into our lives as possible.

The fact that we’re learning more about this is useful.

For some people, there are opportunities to start walking or cycling to work rather than commuting. Others may want to put in extra time at the gym.

As many trainers say, there’s no one workout routine for everyone – instead, find something that works for you and that you like enough to keep doing.

When you look at the many benefits of exercise, from improved cardiovascular health to stress reduction and mood-boosting effects, it’s worth it.

Originally published on The Power of Ideas.

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