Study Finds that Exercising Exclusively on Weekends Is Still Really Good for Your Health

Study Finds that Exercising Exclusively on Weekends Is Still Really Good for Your Health

It may not be as bad as it appears, according to experts, to follow the “weekend warrior” exercise regimen.

According to a study published in the latest issue of JAMA Network Open, people who walk 8,000 steps or more per day once or twice a week benefit from cardiovascular health improvements and have mortality rates that are almost as low as those who cover the same distance but on a daily basis.

Sports cardiologist and the co-author of a commentary article that accompanies the research, Dr. J. Sawalla Guseh, says that “We have long wondered what’s the minimum physical activity we need for health. The study attempts to answer that question. This puts an exclamation mark on something that we already knew: that a bit of exercise goes a long way.”

Primary care sports medicine doctor and a former gymnast by the name of Alysia Robichau, who was not directly involved in the study, pointed out that “We are trying to find other ways to encourage movement. This gives us permission to exercise even if it is only 2 days a week.”

Adults should engage in two days per week of muscle exercises and so at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercises, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

That is around 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and muscle strengthening exercises each day, 5 days per week.

However, American citizens consistently struggle to achieve these objectives.

According to a research from the CDC, just 24 percent of people participate in the recommended cardio and muscle-strengthening activities, and less than half of individuals fulfill the cardio requirements.

Reaching between 6,000 and 10,000 steps each day is ideal, according to Guseh.

According to statistics from smartphones, the typical daily step count for persons in the US is 4,800, however.

Weekend warriors are at risk for injuries including muscle rips and strains, according to Dr. Eric Ascher, a family medicine doctor who was not part of the study.

This is a main reason why many health professionals have previously advised against it.

If you switch from being a couch potato 5 days out of the week to engaging in really strenuous activities on your free days, the risk is especially significant.

“If you are not doing any exercise during the week then sprint and run for long distances, you are still probably going to hurt yourself,” he pointed out.

The study’s authors analyzed data from accelerometers worn by around 3,100 participants in a significant national survey.

The participants were divided into 3 groups based on how many days per week they performed 8,000 steps or more: no days, 1-2 days, or 3-7 days.

The researchers merely counted the overall number, so it’s unclear if the study participants acquired their steps through walking, running, or some other exercise.

The subjects were monitored for 10 years during which time researchers recorded both overall mortality rates and fatalities due to cardiovascular conditions including heart attacks.

One or two days of at least 8,000 steps per day resulted in a 15 percent reduction in mortality risk and 3-7 days resulted in a 16.5 percent reduction in risk when compared to the “zero” group.

Between the nonzero groups, the risk of death from cardiovascular disease was approximately equal: 8.1 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively.

The study’s inclusion of data from a wearable device as opposed to participant recollection, which is frequently inaccurate, is one of its benefits.

The duration of the step measurement, however, was only a week.

As a result, it was unable to determine if exercise routines lasted over the course of months or years.

Between Day One and Ten Years, a lot may go wrong, Guseh remarked.

Furthermore, the scientists neglected to consider the intensity or kind of exercise, however walking is a form of exercise that many individuals find manageable.


Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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