Too tired on weekdays to workout? Good news: Only a single burst of weekend exercise is enough to keep you fit.
You can officially say goodbye to 6 am workout classes and crowded gym sessions because a recent study conducted in the US has found that one big burst of exercise at the weekend is just as beneficial to our health as spreading activities out over the week. Definitely music to our ears!
Researchers from the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal tracked 350,000 people over ten years to measure the differences between weekday and weekend workouts. The answer: as long as we hit 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise a week, it doesn’t matter when you work out or what you do.
We don’t know about you, but after working in the office all day, the last thing on our minds is a workout. Commute, housework, dinner, childcare, spending time with family; the post-work day list is long and tiresome. Who really has the time or energy to squeeze in a workout too?
“Exercise just once or twice a week can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke,” states the NHS. This can be through moderate, vigorous, or short, very vigorous workouts.
Many of the participants in the US study seemed to reach the recommended amount of exercise in a week, with some cramming it into one or two sessions when they were most available to exercise. Those who reached this exercise target, whether spaced out or crammed into a few sessions, had a lower death risk than those who didn’t get the recommended amount.
While the NHS recommendation is to “spread exercise evenly” and “reduce time spent sitting”, realistically, that just isn’t possible when working a nine-to-five job.
“This large study suggests that, when it comes to exercise, it doesn’t matter when you do it,” says British Heart Foundation senior cardiac nurse Joanna Whitmore. Speaking to the BBC, she noted that “the most important thing is that physical activity is undertaken in the first place.”
Moderate aerobic activities include a brisk walk, dancing or riding a bike; pretty much any activity where you can still talk while doing it. Although we’re not entirely convinced we could speak after a round of Just Dance, it’s an excellent way to measure your workout’s intensity.
The NHS suggests running, swimming, skipping, or circuit training for more vigorous exercise.
So, next time you feel guilty for relaxing on the sofa after a hard day at work, remember: it’s just as beneficial to rest and do a great weekend workout when you actually have the time and energy to enjoy it. That’s expert advice we can definitely get behind!