Infrequent exercise still beneficial for health

Exercising just once or twice a week has benefits for your health, new research has found.

With the busy lifestyle many people have these days, it can be hard to find the time to exercise. However, research published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that people who perform just 150 minutes of moderate exercise (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise) per week had a lower risk of death, cardiovascular disease and cancer, compared to inactive people.

This is good news for people who struggle to make it to the gym regularly but are members of sports clubs, like to go for walks or runs and are keen to improve their fitness. Research is continually showing that, when it comes to fitness, every little bit counts.

Data for the study came from more than 60,000 adults surveyed in the UK between 1994 and 2012. The ‘weekend warrior’-type exercisers, people who engage in physical activity only once or twice a week, had a 30 per cent lower risk of death from all causes, 40 per cent lower for cardiovascular disease and 18 per cent lower for cancer.

The study concludes: “The weekend warrior and other physical activity patterns characterized by one or two sessions per week of moderate- or vigorous-intensity physical activity may be sufficient to reduce risks for all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality regardless of adherence to prevailing physical activity guidelines.”

So don’t get down on yourself if you missed a session and could only exercise once or twice this week. It might not be optimal but it’s still helping your health out in the long run.


O’Donovan, G. (2017.) ‘Association of “Weekend Warrior” and other leisure time physical activity patterns with risks for all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality.’
JAMA Intern Med
. Published online January 9, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.8014

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