April 23, 2024
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Weekend workout: Transform your health by exercising only two days a week

Finding time for regular exercise can often be challenging on busy working days. The good news is that according to recent research, you may not need to sweat it out at the gym every day to stay fit. A study, conducted by experts at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and published in JAMA and SciTechDaily, reveals that weekend workouts can be just as effective as exercising throughout the entire week.

According to a recent scientific study conducted by health researchers, engaging in physical activity over the weekend, or ‘weekend warrior’ pattern as they are calling it, may confer similar health benefits as those who exercise regularly throughout the week. The study followed a diverse group of individuals with varying fitness levels and activity patterns over a period of six months.

Lead author Shaan Khurshid, MD, MPH, a faculty member in the Demoulas Center for Cardiac Arrhythmias at MGH, along with his colleagues, analysed data on 89,573 individuals from the prospective UK Biobank study, who wore wrist accelerometers that recorded their total physical activity and the time they spent at different intensities over a full week. The participants were divided into three categories: inactive, weekend warriors, and active regulars. The findings were quite remarkable, showing that individuals in both the active groups experienced significant improvements in various health metrics compared to those who remained inactive.

Key benefits of weekend workouts:

1. Heart health: Weekend warriors showed notable enhancements in their cardiovascular health. The intense bursts of exercise over the weekend helped lower blood pressure and improve overall heart function.

2. Weight management: Despite working out only on weekends, participants were able to manage their weight effectively. This result is attributed to the high-intensity nature of the workouts, which boosted metabolism and fat burning.

3. Insulin sensitivity: Weekend exercisers experienced improved insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of developing diabetes and related metabolic disorders.

4. Mental well-being: Engaging in weekend workouts positively impacted participants’ mental health, reducing stress levels and promoting a sense of well-being.

5. Muscle strength and endurance: Surprisingly, weekend warriors exhibited noticeable improvements in muscle strength and endurance, suggesting that the intensity of their workouts compensated for the reduced frequency.

Tips for weekend workouts:

If you’re inspired to embark on your weekend workout journey, it is essential to approach it with the right strategy by implementing these tips:

1. Choose high-intensity workouts: Since you have limited time, opt for high-intensity exercises like interval training, circuit workouts, or intense cardio sessions. These vigorous exercises can maximise the benefits of your weekend workouts.

2. Warm-up and cool down: Prioritise warm-up and cool-down routines to prevent injuries and aid in recovery.

3. Stay consistent: Make a habit of dedicating time to weekend workouts regularly. Consistency is key to seeing results and reaping long-term health benefits.

4. Listen to your body: While high-intensity workouts are effective, ensure you listen to your body and avoid overexertion. Adjust the intensity and duration as needed to avoid burnout and injuries.

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