Weekend warriors: why exercise doesn’t have to be regular to be good for you | Life and style

Name: Weekend fighters.

Age: 41.

Who is 41? The average weekend warrior. Well, 41 is the average age of a bunch of adults in America who were part of an approximately 10-year study led by Jiangnan University in China.

Big group, was it? 350,978 adults. So yes, I think we can treat this study with a certain amount of respect.

Respect duly granted. So what is it all about? Are we talking about those people who dress? as Roman soldiers or Arthurian knights and make mock battles on weekends? Um, no, different kind of weekend warrior. Nor are they terracotta. We are talking about sports here.

Continue. So the people in the study are all people who do 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week…

Seems a lot. Not really, it’s what public health officials recommend.

Does Call of Duty count as moderate exercise or vigorous? Neither. Vigorous means running, swimming, playing football – things that make you breathe fast and make it hard to talk while doing it. Moderate means you’re still breathing faster, but you can talk, and includes brisk walking and mowing the lawn. Anyway, they were divided into two groups…

With 175,489 in each? Well done, you can count! One group was the people who are “regularly active,” meaning they meet those goals in three or four sessions a week. And the other group were the people who get it all done in one or two sessions a week.

The so-called “weekend warriors”? Precisely. Like the person who plays one game of football on Sunday and nothing else. I think a powerful reenactment of the battle would do the trick too, especially if you were wearing chainmail.

And what did they find? They compared the 10-year death rates for the two groups — those who exercise regularly and the weekend warriors who did the same amount of exercise but concentrated in one or two sessions — and found that the rates were similar.

Would you like to summarize? The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, concluded: “Individuals who engage in recommended levels of physical activity can experience the same benefit whether the sessions are performed during the week or concentrated in fewer days.”

And for those of us who might not be doing the recommended amount of exercise at all—not vigorous or moderate, not spread out over the week, or concentrated on weekends? Bad news. Higher death rates. Obviously, but you knew that.

I get it. So I definitely have to get up, but it could be less often and longer. Precisely.

Say anyway: “And it means less washing of sportswear. Everyone is a winner, even the planet.”

do not say: “I’m actually a bit busy this Saturday and Sunday. Maybe next weekend…”

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