We all know “weekend warriors” – people who log more workouts on the weekends as a way to make up for less exercise during the week. But how effective is this strategy? When it comes to exercise, can you really make up for lost time?
According to a new study, yes, you can reap the same benefits of exercising for a week in two days as exercising intermittently during the week.
The researchers divided the participants into groups based on whether or not they met the recommended amount of physical activity per week (150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of intense exercise). Participants who met the requirements were then segregated based on whether they were active for three or more days or only one or two days per week. Specifically, the researchers examined whether there was a difference in death rates.
The results showed that those who participated in regular physical activity or only on weekends had a lower risk of death compared to inactive people. They found no significant differences between those who exercised regularly during the week and those who exercised only one to two days a week for the same length of time.
conclusion? The most important thing is that you meet the recommended amount of physical activity each week – not how you space your workouts.
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What we can exclude from this study
Health experts agree that this study reinforces the idea that following weekly exercise guidelines for 150 minutes or more of moderate activity — or 75 minutes of vigorous activity — lowers mortality rates even if exercise is primarily over a few days and is not spread evenly over the course of the week .
Dr. Saloni Sharma, who has two degrees in Physical Medicine and Pain Management, notes that “in some ways, this is a gift because there is less pressure to exercise daily on an ideal schedule, which can be challenging given personal fluctuations and professional requirements.”
The guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, which is 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days per week. While this is a strong recommendation, for many people the physical limitations or lack of time make it difficult to complete this in 30-minute bouts of exercise, explains Dr. Sharma.
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It’s also important to keep in mind that people may have quality workouts on the weekends. “If people are exercising after work, and they are tired and upset being there, the quality of the exercise may not be that good, and it won’t meet your need and purpose of going in the first place,” says Angela Gentile, certified fitness trainer, sculpting yoga instructor, and coach. life. “This could mean that people who are well rested and really motivated ‘weekend warriors’ are more likely to regain the same good energy they put in.”
The results are in how you define them
The definition of “results” when it comes to exercise has a lot to do with what our goals are. “It’s important to take into account all the reasons people choose to work beyond the physical benefits: spending time alone, a way to love and honor themselves, to be part of the community,” Gentile says. So for some people, daily exercise may be more beneficial.
Movement is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so rather than thinking about days per week, Gentile notes that the best way to improve is to pay attention to the quality of your exercise, target heart rates, and how long you burn fat. and areas of the heart and blood vessels. So instead of walking for 60 minutes, choose to do something a little tougher for 20 minutes and get your heart beating!
Most importantly, the best way to exercise is in a way that makes sense for you and isn’t stressful.
“It’s important to do 150 minutes or more of exercise per week, but this can be focused over a few days or broken down into smaller bursts throughout the day,” says Dr. Sharma. “Other ways to improve exercise are to combine it with positive social bonding and time outdoors – both of which have been shown to help reduce stress and inflammation even more.”
If you’re thinking of becoming a weekend warrior, great! This study shows that you will reap a lot of great benefits. But it may be worth consulting with a personal trainer because doing too much at once when you are otherwise unstable can lead to injury. A professional can provide some guidance on how to avoid getting hurt.
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- Internal medicine collectorAssociation of ‘weekend warrior’ and other leisure-time physical activity patterns with all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a nationwide cohort study.
- Saloni Sharma, MD, MD, MD, Physical Medicine (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation), Pain Management, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Medical Director, Integrative Orthopedic Health Center, Rothman Orthopedics
- Angela Gentile, certified fitness instructor, sculpting yoga teacher, and life coach