Good news if you only exercise at the weekend

Most of us have great intentions when it comes to exercise, but once you factor in work, childcare, commuting and keeping some semblance of order at home, workout sessions often fall to the bottom of the list on busy days.

As a result, some people tend to cram all their exercise in at the weekend, going for one or two big gym workouts or long runs on their days off rather than spreading them throughout the week.

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If that’s you, then a new study provides good news, suggesting that a big burst of exercise at the weekend is as good as spreading activity out across the week.

US researchers tracked 350,000 people over 10 years to see how well so-called weekend warriors fared.

The findings, in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, suggest the type and total amount of exercise count, rather than how many sessions.

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It’s worth noting that NHS guidelines recommend 150 Minutes of moderate intensity activity (such as brisk walking, riding a bike or water aerobics) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (such as running, swimming or aerobics) a week, and its guidance does say ‘spready exercise evenly over 4 to 5 days a week, or every day’.

Many of the participants in the US study clocked up this amount in a week. But some crammed it into one or two sessions rather than spacing it out.

Those who reached their recommended level of activity, whether during the week or the weekend, had lower a death risk than those who did less than the recommend amount.

British Heart Foundation senior cardiac nurse Joanne Whitmore told the BBC: ‘This large study suggests that, when it comes to exercise, it doesn’t matter when you do it.

‘The most important thing is that physical activity is undertaken in the first place.

‘Whether you cram your exercise in on the weekend or spread it across the week, aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.

‘Exercise can improve your health, reducing your risk of heart and circulatory diseases like heart attack and stroke.’