WASHINGTON—Getting into sweat-breaking exercise only on the weekends, known as “weekend warrior” physical activity patterns, may also be enough to reduce risks for death significantly, a new study said Monday.
The study, published online by the U.S. journal JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that compared with inactive adults, weekend warriors who performed the usually recommended amount of 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity in one or two sessions per week had lower risks for death from all causes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer.
The results were based on an analysis of 63,591 British adults who were followed between 1994 and 2012. During the study period, there were 8,802 deaths from all causes, 2,780 deaths from CVD and 2,526 from cancer.
The researchers found that the risk of death from all causes was about 30 percent lower among weekend warrior adults compared with inactive adults, while the risk of CVD death for weekend warriors was 40 percent lower and the risk of cancer death was 18 percent lower.
Interestingly, risk reductions were similar among weekend warriors and insufficiently active adults who performed less than the recommended amount of weekly physical activity.
“The present study suggests that less frequent bouts of activity, which might be more easily fit into a busy lifestyle, offer considerable health benefits, even in the obese and those with major risk factors,” the researches wrote.
“A particularly encouraging finding was that a physical activity frequency as low as one or two sessions per week was associated with lower mortality risks, even in the insufficiently active.”
However, for optimal health benefits from physical activity, it is always advisable to meet and exceed the physical activity recommendations, the researchers noted.