Weekend warriors get same health gain as those more dedicated

Posted on: January 10th, 2017

If you’re a weekend warrior rather than someone who trains much more often, the more dedicated are not that far ahead of you when it comes to your health.


Weekend warriors who cram all of their weekly work-outs into Saturday and Sunday, or other days off work, reduce their risk of early death at almost exactly the same rate as those who train much more frequently, a new study of 63,000 people has found.

The research project, which involved monitoring 63,000 British adults from 1994 to 2012, found very little difference in the risk of death for weekend warriors and those who trained more often.

During the period the subjects were monitored, there were 8,802 deaths in the group of 63,000.

Of those deaths, 2,526 were from cancer and 2,780 were from cardiovascular disease.

However, the risk of death for those who did some form of exercise was lower than those who did none.

And that risk lowered at an almost identical rate for weekend warriors and those who trained much more often.

In essence, the study concluded it did not matter how often people exercised or whether they crammed the exercise they did into one or two days, once they did something.

Those who exercised only at weekends had a 30 per cent lower risk of death than those who did not exercise. They had a 40 per cent lower chance of cardiovascular disease and the risk of dying from cancer was 18 per cent lower.

For those who trained more often; their risk of death was 35 per cent lower than people who did not exercise. And they had a 41 and 21 per cent lower chance of cardiovascular disease and cancer respectively.

Senior author of the research Dr Emmanuel Stamatakis from the University of Sydney said it was very encouraging that doing at least some work-out sessions decreased the risk of death.

This was the case even for those who did not meet the weekly recommended limits of 150 minutes moderate workout or 70 minutes intense exercise.

“Compared to inactive people, the results reveal that the insufficiently active, weekend warriors and people with regular physical activity patterns had reduced risks of death,” he said.

“These results mean that ‘weekend warriors’ and other leisure-time physical activity patterns characterised by one or two sessions per week may provide beneficial health outcomes event when they fall short of physical activity guidelines.”