April 30, 2020

Is It OK to Only Exercise on Weekends?

The short answer from a heart specialist

Stretching at Track Before a Run

Q: I can’t seem to find time to exercise during the week. Will I still get the same benefits from one or two longer workouts during the weekend?

A: Current health recommendations call for 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week.

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Ideally, you’d spread your physical activity throughout the week. But if you can only meet your weekly exercise targets by squeezing it all in during the weekend, you’re still doing your body some good.

One 2017 study showed that people who put in 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity or 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week over one or two sessions were less likely to die from cancer, cardiovascular disease and other causes than inactive adults.

The findings are consistent with what other studies have shown: Moving your body can prolong your life. Even if you exercise less than the recommended weekly amount, you can still expect some reduction in health risks. So don’t let the inability to exercise vigorously most days of the week be a reason to avoid physical activity entirely. Any exercise is better than no exercise. If you can do your exercise only on the weekend, that still counts.

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— Clinical cardiologist Tamanna Singh, MD

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