Twenty-three studies (n=1,004 participants) were included in the review: sixteen long-term training studies (n=908 participants) and seven short-term studies (n=96 participants). The follow-up of long-term training studies ranged from four to 20 weeks.
Long-term training studies
Fitness: All except for two studies reported a significant improvement in at least one measure of cardiovascular fitness following the exercise interventions. Two studies showed greater improvement in cardiovascular fitness in the accumulated exercise group compared with the continuous exercise group.
Adiposity: Three studies reported no changes in percentage body fat in any exercise group. One study reported a decrease in percentage body fat in the continuous exercise group only. Two studies showed a non-significant difference in percentage body fat between the continuous and accumulated conditions of exercise.
Blood pressure: Two out of six studies showed no differences in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure between continuous and accumulated exercise interventions.
Results for the outcomes of waist and hip circumference, body mass, blood lipids and psychological outcomes were also reported.
Fasting blood lipids: Five studies reported no differences in triglyceride or total cholesterol levels between accumulated and continuous exercise interventions.
Postprandial lipaemia: Three studies reported no differences in postprandial lipaemia between accumulated and continuous exercise interventions.
Results for the outcomes of fasting glucose and insulin were also reported.