Here’s Why It’s OK to Work Out Only on Weekends

Updated: Nov. 15, 2017

Weekend warriors, rejoice! Science has some great news about your exercise regimen.

Here's Why It's OK to Work Out Only On WeekendsiStock/gradyreeseIf you’re tight on time during the week and can hit the gym only on Saturdays and Sundays, you’ll welcome the results of a new survey published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

After crunching the numbers on 63,591 adults, a team of researchers from Harvard University School of Public Health and universities in England and Australia, found that when compared with sedentary adults, weekend warriors who performed the recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity in one or two sessions per week had a 30 percent lower risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular disease (40 percent lower) and cancer (18 percent lower). That means 8,802 fewer deaths from all causes, including 2,780 from cardiovascular disease and 2,526 from cancer.

These findings suggest that when it comes to exercise, quality trumps quantity. “One all-encompassing workout is worth more than several poorly planned workouts,” says New York Health & Racquet Club Personal Trainer, Greg Peck. And perhaps more significant is the evidence that some exercise is better than none. “There is no such thing as bad exercise,” Peck adds.

If your sweat sessions are limited, Peck suggests enlisting the services of a personal trainer even for a few sessions, because he or she can show you how to maximize your time and also use the proper form, so you don’t get hurt. If personal training sessions aren’t in the budget, Peck recommends doing least 30 minutes of cardio such as jumping rope, walking on a treadmill, cycling, or using the elliptical machine, followed by weight-bearing exercises: Try doing three sets of 12 to 15 reps of weighted squats, chest presses, deadlifts, bicep curls, triceps kickbacks and ab crunches. If you can’t get to the gym, go for a brisk walk or run, and do three sets of 12 to 15 pushups, body weight squats, leg raises, sit-ups, tricep dips, and lunges. Get the most out of each session by concentrating on upper body with cardio one day and lower body with cardio the next. (Here are more home workouts to try.)

And per the study findings, it’s also a good idea to crank up the physical activity during your leisure time as well. Maybe go bowling with friends bowling instead of happy hour, or going on a hike with your family instead of parking it in front of Netflix. In case you need them, here are some exercise motivation tricks you haven’t tried.