Be It Resolved: Weekend-Only Exercise Counts

Premier Health Now

Are weekday work and family obligations crowding out your New Year’s resolution to exercise regularly?

If weekends seem to be your only chance for physical activity, you’re not alone. And you’re not out of luck.

At least according to a study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Subjects of the study who got the recommended weekly dose of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of rigorous physical activity had a significantly reduced risk of premature death.

And the study offers this encouraging news for weekend warriors: The advantage of regular exercise was nearly identical for those who spread their workouts through the week and those who packed them all into one or two sessions.

However, there could be a downside for weekend-only exercisers: greater risk for injury.

Is this true? Premier Health Now checked with Sean Convery, MD, of Premier Orthopedics. He concedes, “For some people, weekends may be the only way exercise will happen.”

And, he says, so long as you consistently exercise every weekend — not every other weekend — you should stay conditioned enough to reduce your risk for injury.

He offers this additional injury prevention advice, no matter when you exercise:

  • Combine aerobic and resistance exercise
  • Vary the muscle groups that you work from one workout to the next, to give muscles time to recover. “If you do the same workout back to back, you’re setting yourself up for injury.” 

As an example for a weekend warrior’s workout, Dr. Convery suggests: “On Saturday, you could lift weights for 45 minutes, followed by 45 minutes of aerobic exercise on a bike, elliptical or treadmill. On Sunday, you could play tennis, followed by stretching.”