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Study: Weekend Workout Benefits Same as Regular Exercise

Health Research
Last Updated Aug 21, 2020

Are you too busy during the week to workout? Don't worry. You might still be getting the same benefits as someone who spreads their training out across the week.

A joint study between the University of Sydney and Loughborough University, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, surveyed 64,000 adults in England and Scotland. Their health and exercise habits were monitored for 18 years.

And it turns out, squeezing your entire week's workouts into one or two weekend sessions still provides all the health benefits of regular exercise. It also showed that doing physical activity for 150 minutes every week still reduces your risk of early death by a third.

And in fact, being a "weekend warrior" (someone who does all their exercise on the weekend, due to time constraints during the week) are 41% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease. And 18% less likely to die from cancer, compared to inactive people.

Weekend Warrior Workout

Lead author Dr Gary O'Donovan said, "The weekend warrior and other physical activity patterns characterised by one or two sessions per week of moderate or vigorous-intensity physical activity may be sufficient to reduce risks for all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality regardless of adherence to prevailing physical activity guidelines."

So, the great news is, it doesn't matter when you workout. So long as you meet the minimum exercise guidelines.

There are a few drawbacks to the study. For starters, it was a self-reporting study. So participants had to honestly and accurately record their health and exercise habits. Also, around 90% of the surveyed people were white and didn't represent any other ethnic groups.

But it's still a fascinating study. So if you're worried that you can only workout on the weekend, take heart. So long as you meet the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week, you'll be doing your bit to ward off the major causes of death due to inactivity.

For more ideas, chat with a dietitian or personal trainer.

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Originally published on Dec 24, 2018

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