Weekend-Only Workouts Are Just as Effective as Daily Exercise, Says New Study

If you're working out to live longer, new research from the American Medical Association has found that being a weekend warrior may have powerful effects!

Exercising can benefit your body in more ways than one. Although weight maintenance is a popular reason for a lot of people, exercise can also be effective at reducing your risk of certain chronic diseases, managing blood sugar and insulin levels, improving your mental health, keeping your brain sharp, strengthening your bones, improving your sleep and even benefiting your sexual health. Long story short, working out can improve your life and increase your chances of living longer.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity—along with two days of muscle strength training—every week. Most people opt for daily workouts, or at least complete 30 minutes a day for five days of the week. However, recent research has questioned if the regularity of workouts throughout the week matters when it comes specifically to longevity.

A new American Medical Association study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in July 2022, evaluated how daily workouts (three or more sessions each week) would influence one’s mortality rate, compared to one or two sessions on the weekend. The large cohort study of over 350,000 adults did not find a difference in mortality rates between “weekend warriors” and regularly activate participants.

The researchers concluded that no matter how often or when the workouts take place during the week, performing 150 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) by the end of the week lowers one’s risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality.

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Weekend workouts to reach 150 minutes

If this research inspired you to drop your daily workout and become a “weekend warrior,” there are quite a few aerobic physical activities to consider for your new weekend-only workout routine. Bonus—many don’t require a visit to the gym!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends doing 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity such as walking fast, doing water aerobics, riding a bike, playing tennis, or even pushing a lawn mower and cleaning.

Or, if you’d rather get your workouts overwith, engage in 75 minutes of vigorous activity such as jogging or running, swimming laps, biking at a faster pace, or playing sports.

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Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a journalist and content strategist with a main focus on nutrition, health, and wellness coverage. She holds an MA in Journalism from DePaul University and a Nutrition Science certificate from Stanford Medicine. Her work has been featured in publications including Taste of Home, Reader's Digest, Bustle, Buzzfeed, INSIDER, MSN, Eat This, Not That!, and more.