Good news for workaholics! Being a ‘weekend warrior’ when it comes to exercise is just as good as working out every day, study suggests
Being a “weekend warrior” improves heart health just as much as exercising every day, new research suggests.
People who exercise in one or two sessions on Saturdays and Sundays significantly reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Those who exercised vigorously a couple of times a week reduced their chances of heart attacks by 27 percent compared to 35 percent for those who exercised regularly.
This exercise pattern protected against heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, and atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common form of irregular heartbeat.
Good news for workaholics!
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital studied data from 89,573 participants in the UK Biobank, which contains information about their genes and health.
Participants wore accelerometer-enabled wrist devices for one week and were tracked for an average of more than six years.
It is recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week.
Being regular active and weekend warriors cut their chances of heart failure by 38 and 36 percent, respectively, atrial fibrillation by 22 and 19 percent, and stroke by 21 and 17 percent, compared to those who they get little or no exercise.
Experts said the findings have implications for those who struggle to find time due to work or family commitments.
According to findings presented in JAMA Internal Medicine, they may find it easier to fit less frequent bouts of physical activity into busy lifestyles.
The NHS recommends that moderate to vigorous physical activity (MPVA) be spread out evenly over four to five days a week, or every day.
The study identified a weekend warrior pattern as common, which applies to more than half of active people.
The different activity patterns were found to have similar associations with a lower risk of atrial fibrillation, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.
Musculoskeletal injury rates were also similar in both groups, allaying concerns that concentrated bursts of energy increase risk.
The findings suggest that participation in physical activity, regardless of pattern, may optimize risk across a broad spectrum of cardiovascular diseases.
Dr Patrick Ellinor, from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, said: “Our findings suggest that interventions to increase physical activity, even when focused on one or two days a week, may improve cardiovascular outcomes.”