Cramming your workout into just one or two days may yield similar health benefits — including decreased chances of dying prematurely — as spacing out exercise during the week, a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine has found.
Researchers at Loughborough University in England analyzed data from an existing UK survey to find commonalities among the habits of 63,591 middle-aged men and women based on their exercise habits over a 15-year period: the type of exercise they did, how frequently they worked out, and the length of their workouts. Participants were divided into three groups based on World Health Organization guidelines that recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week: inactive, insufficiently active and sufficiently active.
Sufficiently active participants were further divided into weekday exercises and “weekend warriors.” Since researchers had 15 years’ worth of data to work with, they used death registries to determine which participants had passed away, and cross-referenced those names with the exercise habits and schedules recorded in the survey. Regardless of when they worked out — throughout the week or on weekends only — sufficiently active survey participants were 30% less likely to die than those who didn’t work out at all.
Additionally, weekend warriors were more likely to be male, and half exercised only once a week. Almost 90% of weekend warriors reported working out vigorously through activities like cycling, or through team sports, like soccer.
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Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com