Living for the Weekend

Weekend warriors rejoice! A new study suggests that those weekend workouts may be just as effective at preventing heart disease and cancer as 20 minutes of exercise done every day.


Researchers examined so-called weekend warriors, who cram a week’s worth of exercise into just one or two days.

The researchers found that the weekend warriors in the study who met physical activity guidelines were less likely to die during the nine-year study period, compared with people who didn’t get any exercise. Meeting those guidelines meant engaging in a total of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity over one or two days a week.

Compared to adults who reported no exercise activities, researchers found that weekend warriors had a…
  • 40% lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease,
  • 30% lower risk of overall death, and
  • 18% lower risk of death due to cancer.

According to, “The weekend warriors in the new study undertook mostly high-intensity exercise, said Gary O’Donovan, a research associate in physical activity, sedentary behavior and health at Loughborough University in England, who led the new study. “Quality may be more important than quantity,” he said.

Newsweek Magazine added that the study indicates it doesn’t matter how you split up the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week (based on guidelines from the American Heart Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) as long as you get it done. The article also pointed out the study does have some limitations.

More than 90 percent of the subjects were white. The information about physical activity was reported by the participants, and it’s likely that many were too generous in their estimates of how much time they spent at the gym. Unfortunately, taking 20 minutes in locker room to put on your sneakers doesn’t count as a workout.

Share your thoughts on this new study and whether you believe weekend warriors are reaping the same health benefits as those who work out on a more consistent basis. Exploring new ideas and new new ways to bring better health to the people of our state will help us take another step in our long-term goal to one day make Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!


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