Working out during the week is something many of us either avoid or plough through begrudgingly. After all, when it comes to a choice between getting out of bed an hour early to exercise before work or going for a gruelling keep-fit session at the end of a long working day, for many of us, neither option sounds too appealing.

If you’ve been feeling guilty about shunning exercise during work days and putting it off until the weekend, we have good news for you.

A recent study has shown that the ‘Weekend Warrior’ lifestyle of cramming the recommended weekly exercise into a two-day period may be just as good for you as daily exercise.

 

The Study

This study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at so-called Weekend Warriors over a period of years and came out with some surprising results.

The health and fitness habits of more than 63,000 British adults were studied between 1994 and 2012. During this time there were a total of 8,802 deaths. 2,780 of those deaths were from cardiovascular disease and 2,526 were as a result of cancer.

Study participants who lived the Weekend Warrior lifestyle of engaging in high-intensity exercise on Saturdays and Sundays were found to have just as low risk of death as those who worked out on a daily basis. This means that waiting until the weekend to get your keep-fit fix is just as beneficial as taking a regular amount of moderate exercise throughout the week.

The study also found that 56% of Weekend Warriors were women and 44% were men. Of all these participants, 55% chose to divide their exercises over a two day period while 45% opted to cram it all into a single day.

 

What are the Health Benefits?

The NHS and The World Health Organisation both advise that adults do either 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.

It was previously suggested that these periods of exercise were spread out across a number of days. This is because intense weekend work-outs were not believed to be enough to make up for five days of inactivity.

However, the results of this latest research have proved that this is not the case and there are, in fact, many health benefits to waiting until the weekend to exercise. This is extremely encouraging news for the many Weekend Warriors among us!

Compared to those who led sedentary, inactive lifestyles with little to no exercise, Weekend Warriors were found to have a 40% lower risk of death from cardiovascular conditions and a 30% lower risk of death overall.

 

Weekend Warrior Activities

If your schedule and lifestyle mean that becoming a Weekend Warrior is right for you but you’re not sure where to start, here are some examples of high-intensity work-outs you could do this weekend;

Push-ups: A push-up is a classic example of a tough and challenging form of exercise. Try doing as many of these as you can on your days off work and your body will definitely be left feeling the effects. If you can’t quite manage to do traditional push-ups, which are notoriously difficult, try resting your knees on the ground as you push up instead.

Squats: Squatting works wonders when it comes to building up leg and buttock muscles. If you’ve ever tried to do a series of squats before then you’ll know that the benefits of this exercise can be felt all-over almost immediately. If you plan on adding squats into your Weekend Warrior work-out routine, remember to always keep your feet underneath your hips as you squat and to place your bodyweight on your heels.

Jump squats: If you’re looking for something even more challenging to boost your fitness regime this weekend, why not up the ante by swapping the squats for jump squats? Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, just like you would when you prepare for a regular squat. Then sit back with your weight on your heels before jumping into the air and landing back into your squatting position. If you’re feeling really brave, try doing this 40 times in a row!

Jumping lunges: Starting with your feet shoulder width apart and arms down at your side, move your right leg forward and left leg backwards just like a traditional lunging movement. The only difference is that in a jumping lunge, you also perform a small upward jump into the movement, landing back into your lunging position with your right knee directly over your toes. Once you’ve done this, switch legs and try it again. Do this 20 times in a row and you’ll be feeling the burn all weekend long.

Burpees: A burpee is an extremely intense full-body exercise which works many muscle groups at the same time. This is both a strength-training exercise which tones, strengthens and aids weight loss all at the same time. To do a burpee, begin by standing, place your hands on the floor and then extend your legs backwards. Once you’re in a push-up style position, quickly jump up with your arms raised and repeat the movement again as soon as you’ve landed. Repeat this for 30 seconds and you’ll soon feel it in your arms, chest, legs, glutes and abs.