Saturday and Sunday, you're out the door for a gym sesh, a Pilates class, or a hot girl walk with your friend no problem. But Monday through Friday, it's a struggle. Work commitments, commuting schedules, along with plain regular exhaustion, make exercising during the week a far-flung dream.
Well, good news. According to recent research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, exercising only once or twice per week can have the same cardiovascular (heart) benefits as daily exercise.
The study, which canvassed almost 90,000 people, tracked participants over six years, documenting the rates of heart-related issues (heart attacks, heart failures, strokes, and atrial fibrillation) and the type of exercise they chose.
The study separated people into three categories. It compared people who exercised under the recommended 150 minutes per week (the American Center for Disease Control and NHS both suggest at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week is ideal), categorizing them as inactive, those who met the recommendations (active regulars) and those who met the 150 minutes but over 50 percent of it was concentrated to one or two days of the week (weekend warriors).
Participants wore wrist "accelerometers," a tracking device that measures movement and vibration, for a week to decide which category they belonged to. Six years later, researchers followed up to identify how many "cardiovascular events" they had experienced in the time lapsed.
"The main finding was that both the active weekend warrior and the active regular patterns were associated with significantly lower rates of those events—20 percent to 40 percent—and differences between them were very small," Shaan Khurshid, MD, MPH, lead study author and staff electrophysiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital told Health Magazine.
This means that if you choose to concentrate the lion's share of your exercise to only one or two days, you're not missing out on any cardiovascular benefits. You may not reap the mental health reward of daily endorphins – but you also may not be any further behind in lowering your risk of cardiovascular events like heart attacks or strokes, compared with the daily pavement pounders. Naturally though, and it is also important to note, this will be affected by genetics and your family history of heart-related incidents.
Still, no need to feel bad about missing that Tuesday night spin class after all!
WORDS BY: Morgan Fargo
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the editors.