A study has found that people who exercise on weekends in a busy life can expect similar preventive effects against heart disease and stroke as those who exercise regularly almost every day.
A research team at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School, USA, revealed that it appeared as a result of analyzing the physical activity data of about 90,000 people.

Dr. Patrick Eleanor (cardiovascular medicine), the lead author of the study, said, “Weekend warriors who exercise for a day or two on the weekends because they are usually busy can see a much greater exercise effect than those who do not exercise properly.” You can see the same level of cardiovascular disease (heart attack, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke, etc.) prevention effect as those who exercise regularly almost every day.

The research team analyzed data from 89,573 UK Biobank study participants. This includes data measured with a wrist accelerometer for overall physical activity and exercise intensity and duration.

It is common to recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week for overall health. It’s not clear whether intensive exercise (combined exercise) can provide the same benefits as evenly distributed exercise (exercise done on a regular basis almost every day).

To solve this problem, the research team analyzed vast amounts of personal data. About 42% of the participants were ‘weekend warriors’ (those who intensively engage in physical activity of 150 minutes or more in one or two days) who exercised on weekends, and about 24% were active/regular physical activities (those who regularly engaged in physical activity of 150 minutes or more over several days). The remaining approximately 34% were inactive physically active (those who did less than 150 minutes of physical activity).

The study found that compared to inactive physically active people, ‘weekend warriors’ had a 27% lower risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction), a 36% lower risk of heart failure, a 19% lower risk of atrial fibrillation, and a 17% lower risk of stroke. This is a risk reduction effect similar to that of active and regular physical activity (35% lower risk of heart attack, 38% lower risk of heart failure, 22% lower risk of atrial fibrillation, and 21% lower risk of stroke).

The results of this study (Accelerometer-Derived “Weekend Warrior” Physical Activity and Incident Cardiovascular Disease) were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).