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Contrary to what science believed, doing exercises only on Saturdays and Sundays provides almost the same benefits to the body as doing exercise during the week. In the long-term, the so-called ‘weekend warriors’ also have a reduced risk of early death due to cancer and cardiac diseases – as long as they do moderate or vigorous intensity exercises.

“One or two sessions per week of physical activity can be sufficient to reduce the risk of chronic diseases,” says Gary O’Donovan, from Loughborough University, in England, one of the authors of the study that outlined new parameters for physical activity frequency. “The results are exciting,” said the lead author of the research, associate professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, from the University of Sydney, Australia.

The results. The impact difference of exercising is minimum on the health of participants in both groups. Compared to inactive individuals, weekend athletes reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 40% and cancer 18%. In turn, death from all causes was 30% lower in general. Frequent exercisers reduce the risk of death from all causes by 35%, cardiovascular diseases by 41% and cancer by 21%.

The research followed more than 63,000 British adults between 1994 and 2012 to discover whether daily exercising was really necessary. During the study period, there were 8,802 deaths from all causes, 2,780 deaths due to cardiovascular diseases and 2,526 due to cancer. The risk of death dropped significantly for all those who exercised, regardless of whether they did all their exercising on the weekend or during the week.

The NHS, the official health website of the British government, recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity or at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, or equivalent combinations.

Exceptions. Some studies suggest that concentrating exercises on just one or two days can increase the risk of physical injuries and pressure on the heart. “It’s recommended, however, that people who exercise not exceed and comply with medical recommendations to obtain the benefits for health,”. Click here for the full article. The complete study was published here.