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Exercising Only On The Weekends Still Has Massive Benefits

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Getting the recommended number of hours for weekly exercise in one or two weekends is enough to produce good health benefits, a new study suggests – welcome news for extremely busy people who can only cram in a few workout hours on their days off.

The study also suggests that staying active without managing 150 minutes of moderate activity a week is still adequate to reduce the risk of premature death by at least one-third.

Researchers from the Loughborough University and the University of Sydney conducted a survey of around 64,000 adults over 40 years old in England and Scotland. They analyzed data on the time people spent exercising and their health for a period of 18 years, the BBC reports.

The team found that no matter how often people exercised within a week, or for how long, the long-term health benefits were similar – as long as they met the guidelines.

Overall, health experts agree that purposeful exercise is the key to better health. Dr. Gary O’Donovan, author on the study and physical activity expert, says,

You are not going to fidget or stand your way to health.

The news is lauded by “weekend warriors,” or people who fit their recommended physical activity into their weekend schedules.

Compared to people who did not exercise at all, people who did some form of physical activity, whether regular or irregular, showed a lower risk of suffering from cancer and cardiovascular diseases, which in turn can lead to strokes and heart attacks.

Those who exercised only on the weekends were found to have a 41% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD), and 18% less chances of dying from cancer, compared to inactive people.

Even those who were deemed “insufficiently active,” or those who only completed the bare minimum in exercise hours, lowered their mortality risks by 37% for CVD and 14% for cancer, the study states.

The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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