Those workaholic “weekend warriors” just might be onto something.
Cramming workouts into one or two sessions per week may be sufficient to cheat death after all: A new report published in JAMA Internal Medicine found those who did were at lower risk of dying than their more slothful counterparts.
The study, which analyzed household-based surveys of 63,591 men and women from 1994 to 2012, found that so-called “weekend warriors” who put in one or two sessions a week of 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity or 150 minutes of moderate exercise were less likely to die from all causes, cancer or cardiovascular disease than inactive adults.
Of the men and women in the study, 8,802 died from all causes; 2,526 died from cancer and 2,780 due to cardiovascular disease. Weekend warriors’ risk of dying from all causes was roughly 30% less than it was for inactive adults; their risk of dying from cancer was 18% lower, and risk of cardiovascular disease death was about 40% lower.
“The present study suggests that less frequent bouts of activity, which might be more easily fit into a busy lifestyle, offer considerable health benefits, even in the obese and those with major risk factors,” the authors wrote.
“A particularly encouraging finding was that a physical activity frequency as low as 1 or 2 sessions per week was associated with lower mortality risks, even in the insufficiently active.”
However compelling the data, the authors cautioned that they couldn’t establish a causal relationship — adding that exercise was self-reported and more than 90% of study participants were white.
The new research builds upon a smaller 2004 American Journal of Epidemiology study, which examined 8,421 men in the Harvard Alumni Health Study to find that weekend warriors, compared to sedentary men, had a lower mortality rate.