Benefits Of Weekend-Only Exercise Are Still Drastic

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Senior couple walking together
USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Senior couple walking together

Even if you’re only able to exercise on the weekends, the benefits can literally be life-saving.

A new study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, shows that working out just once or twice each week may lower your risk of death similar to what regular exercise. The findings came from analyzing two national surveys in the U.K., which included self-reported findings from nearly 64,000 adults on their exercise habits and overall health.

Weekend warriors on the exercise front had a 40% lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, 30% lower risk of overall death and 18% lower risk of death due to cancer. Lead researcher Gary O’Donovan, a research associate at Loughborough University in England, noted that the exercise during these sessions was of high-intensity and that the quality of training is particularly important if the weekly frequency is low.

However, those who can only exercise once or twice a week need to be careful to avoid injury. Although high intensity during these sessions is important, it’s crucial to note that the high intensity is relative for your current level. Pushing yourself is a positive thing, but going beyond your limits can be detrimental and create injuries that sideline you for weeks or even months.

“Participating in vigorous, prolonged exercise can lead to a greater risk of injury or soreness later, especially in people who aren’t in good shape to begin with,” noted Brian Parr, associate professor of exercise and sports science at the University of South Carolina-Aiken, to CNN. “[But] any amount of activity is better than none and it’s important to select exercise that is consistent with your goals. If you can’t make time to exercise during the week, you can get at least some of the benefits by being a weekend warrior.”