Significant health benefits attached to weekend exercises A new study suggests that cramming all your recommended weekly exercise into one or two weekend sessions is enough to produce important health benefits. Being active without managing 150 minutes of moderate activity a week was still enough to reduce the risk of an early death by a third. The findings are based on a survey of about 64,000 adults aged over 40 in the UK. Health experts said purposeful exercise was key to better health.
Researchers analyzed data on the time people spent doing exercise and their health over 18 years. They found that no matter how often people exercised in a week or for how long, the health benefits were similar as long as they met the activity guidelines. This is good news for people with a busy lifestyle who turned into 'weekend warriors' in order to fit in all their recommended physical activity. Compared with those who did not exercise at all, people who did some kind of physical activity - whether regularly or irregularly - showed a lower risk of dying from cancer and from cardiovascular disease (CVD), which could lead to heart attacks and strokes. Weekend warriors, who did all their exercise on one or two days of the week, were found to lower their risk of dying from CVD by 41 percent and cancer by 18 percent, compared with the inactive.
Those who exercised regularly on three or more days per week reduced their risks by 41 percent and 21 percent. Even the 'insufficiently active' lowered their risk by a significant amount – 37 percent and 14 percent, the researchers noted. The study authors and experts in physical activity and health said the key was doing exercise that was "purposeful, and done with the intention of improving health".
"You are not going to fidget or stand your way to health," they said. They added that a commitment to an active lifestyle was usually accompanied by other healthy lifestyle options, which made a positive difference regardless of body mass index (BMI).