By Lola Augustine Brown
We’re often told that it’s essential to exercise for 30 minutes every day, but that’s not always possible—or even appealing. What if you’re lazy all week but get moving once the weekend rolls around? Is that good enough?
Apparently it’s not just better than nothing—it’s a lot better. Newly released research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine found that weekend warriors reduced their risk of death almost as much as did those who exercised every day. The study involved more than 63,000 adults 40 or older (average age 58) in England and Scotland over a period of eight years, and the benefits were clear, researchers said.
Compared with those who didn’t exercise (a group comprising 62% of participants), those who did so once or twice a week had a 30% lower all-cause mortality rate (though the latter did put in the 150 minutes a week of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise commonly recommended). Those who exercised throughout the week were found to have a 35% lower mortality rate than those who were inactive.
As long as you get out hiking, skiing, or playing tennis over the weekend, you can enjoy almost the same benefits as those dedicated folks who manage to make it to the gym every day.
If you never get off the couch, there’s never a better time to start changing that than now, so talk to your doctor about starting some kind of exercise routine to up your life expectancy. The easiest thing you can do is to put some comfortable shoes on and go for a walk. Why not start there and work your way up to something more strenuous?
Photos: iStock/Sitikka (top) and Rich Legg (bottom).