Being a ‘weekend warrior’ boosts health just almost as much as working out every day, according to new research.
People who cram exercise into one or two sessions on the weekend lower their risk of premature death as much as peers who spread exercise through the week.
Both groups are less likely to succumb to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and other killer diseases than couch potatoes, say scientists.
The findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine are based on more than 350,000 adults in the U.S. followed for just over a decade, on average. An earlier analysis from more than 63,000 Britons by another team came to the same conclusion.
At least 150 or 75 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity respectively is advised for 18 to 64-year-olds in both countries.
Out of almost 22,000 deaths, there were 8 and 15 percent fewer in weekend warriors and regularly active individuals, respectively.
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“We found they had similar all-cause and cause-specific mortality, suggesting when performing the same amount of physical activity, spreading it over more days or concentrating it into fewer days may not influence outcomes,” said study author Professor Yafeng Wang, of Jiangnan University, China.
It has implications for those who struggle to find time owing to work or family commitments, and who may find it easier to fit less frequent bouts of physical activity into a ‘busy, busy’ lifestyle.
The international team, including British scientists, looked at links between the weekend warrior and other physical activity patterns and deaths from all causes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
“The findings underscore that regular physical activity has been associated with lower risks of all-cause and cause-specific mortality compared with physical inactivity.” said Wang.
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“Most importantly, these findings suggest that whether the recommended amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity is spread out during the week or concentrated into fewer days, there may be no significant difference in health benefits.”
“For people with fewer opportunities for daily or regular physical activity during their work week, these findings are important.”
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