Weekend Only Exercise as Healthy as Daily Workouts?

Can’t seem to squeeze workouts in during the week? According to a recent study from Queen’s University in Canada, active but “infrequent exercisers” who mainly worked out on weekends were just as healthy as those who exercise daily.

Researchers studied over 2,000 adults between the ages of 18 to 64 from across Canada, to determine if exercise frequency impacted the risk of being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that raise the chances of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. To be diagnosed, you must have at least three of these five conditions:

 

  • A large waistline  - over 35 inches for women, and over 40 inches for men
  • High blood pressure – a level of 135/85 or higher
  • A high level of triglycerides – 150 or above
  • Low "good" HDL cholesterol - less than 40 for men, or less than 50 for women (60 or higher is optimal)
  • High fasting blood sugar – 110 or higher

Scientists found that metabolic syndrome risk wasn’t higher in “weekend warriors” (those who worked out only on the weekends) - as long as they accumulated a minimum of 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, the current weekly target from the World Health Organization.

In other words, if you struggle to consistently exercise Monday through Friday, planning active weekends may help you stay fit and stave off long-term health risks. Here are five ways to meet the 150+ minute target, and have fun doing it:   

Go hiking with your family and friends, and plan a post-hike picnic or potluck.

Organize a fun team sport, like soccer, basketball, tennis, or beach volleyball.  

Get your friends together to play active video games, like Dance Revolution.

Go dancing – in many cities local restaurants offers free dance lessons, from swing to tango.

In addition to going to the gym or getting on the treadmill, take a group fitness class you’ve always wanted to try, like Zumba or power yoga. 

How do you stay active on the weekends? Tweet to @CynthiaSass

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