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Weekend Exercise Still Has Benefits

Topics: Data & Research
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Are you sick and tired of hearing about how lack of exercise is making you sick and tired?

For most working people, the usual recommendation about physical activity — namely, that it should be a part of your regular routine — is a recipe for guilt, not physical fitness. But at least one expert says that weekend warriors needn’t feel like slackers. There’s some evidence that working out on weekends only offers similar benefits to working out during the week.

The Science of Us reports:

…Gary O’Donovan, an expert in physical activity and author of several studies on the “weekend warrior” model of fitness, says you shouldn’t feel bad if you’re “only” working out twice or even once a week. In a study of more than 60,000 adults in England and Scotland, O’Donovan and his team found that subjects who only worked out on weekends gained health benefits similar to those who worked out for the same amount of time but more frequently during the week: The former group’s overall risk of death was 35 percent lower than that of inactive adults, while the latter group’s risk was 30 percent lower than inactive adults. The difference in risk of cardiovascular death for both groups was even slimmer: 41 percent lower for the more frequent exercisers compared to 40 percent for the weekend warriors.

How to Get the Most Out of Weekend Exercise

Of course, if you do choose (or are forced) to leave your working out for the weekends, you’ll have some catching up to do. The Science of Us notes that the exercise guidelines for adults are 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. That’s a lot of long walks and neighborhood basketball games.

Further, there’s always the risk that by sitting all week and then roaring into action on the weekend, you’ll set yourself up for muscle strain or other injury.

But let’s face it, fitting in a regular yoga class or gym time during the week is hard, especially in an age where many workers bring their work home with them. If scheduling all your physical activity for the weekend means that you get some exercise, any exercise, that’s better than nothing.

And if you can fit in 75 to 150 minutes, you might be able to feel as virtuous as your office gym rat.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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