Do you find that work commitments and a packed social calendar mean you have no time to exercise in the week?
If that means you tend to squeeze the bulk of your workouts into the weekends, that’s not necessarily cause for alarm.
A new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who fit in one or two workouts at weekends enjoy pretty much the same life-extending benefits as those who train regularly (with three or more sessions) during the week.
The research found that those who have no time to exercise mid-week can experience the ‘same benefit’ as people who spread their fitness across seven days. (As long as you get 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, per week.)
The study backs up previous research by Loughborough University and the University of Sydney, which tracked the weekday and weekend physical activity of 63,591 adults from England and Scotland over a 12-year period.
That particular study also found that weekend workouts, such as a long 150-minute hike, offered the same benefits as regular weekday chunks of activity – habitual 30-minute lunchtime walks, for example.
This new line of research has mostly been focused on the all-important issues of physical health and longevity. So it doesn’t account for other key issues – such as sleep quality, injury risk or mental health – all of which can be enhanced by regular doses of exercise during the working week.
And vigorous activities are best completed in shorter, sharper bursts, followed by recovery days. Clearly, that kind of routine is easier to follow when your training is spread out throughout the week.
However, if you get to the weekend and still haven’t done any training, all is not lost.
Getting out for a weekend run or bike ride will still unlock powerful long-term health benefits.