In this case, we’re talking about those whose weekends are packed with all of the physical activity they don’t get during the week. We all know that regular exercise is one of the keys to healthy living, but many of us just don’t meet the CDC’s guidelines for exercise. The CDC recommends 2-1/2 hours of moderate aerobic exercise or 1-1/4 hours of vigorous aerobic exercise per week. For all the reasons there are, too many of us fall well short of those goals. Many, though, have weekends that are active enough to come close. Some have questioned whether one or two days’ worth of physical activity can really make up for a mostly sedentary week. In a nutshell, the answer seems to be “yes.”
While most doctors and other health experts agree that hitting your weekly exercise goals by spreading it out over the course of the week is still the ideal, cramming it into one or two days every weekend is way better than not getting it at all. Whether you enjoy spending your weekends engaged in sports or other activities such as kayaking or hiking, making the most of the free time you do have can definitely make up for not exercising during the rest of the week.
In addition to getting the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal benefits of regular exercise, a weekend-warrior regimen also serves to reduce some of the stress that too often builds up during our busy workdays. Too much stress can lead to any number of problems including, among many others, poor sleep, loss of energy and focus, neck and back tension, and an overall less-than-great mood. The key, though, is in actually hitting the CDC’s recommendations for weekly exercise time. Obviously, some is still better than none, but hitting those guidelines gives you the best chance for fighting off health problems like heart disease, loss of muscle mass and strength, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, to name a few. Regular exercise can also help prevent or minimize the aches and pains associated with arthritis and a sedentary lifestyle.
If there’s a downside to only exercising one or two days a week, it’s that this can lead to more injuries, especially for those who are overly sedentary the rest of the week. While those who exercise daily might be more likely to sustain injuries related to overuse, those who exercise more sporadically are more prone to acute injuries, which can be more serious.
For those who don’t have (or let’s face it, won’t take) the time for regular workouts during the week, there is good news. Several recent studies have shown that just five to ten minutes of jogging or light running a day can have a major positive impact on overall health. Again, meeting the above recommendations is the absolute ideal, whether during the week or on the weekends, but most of us can definitely find five or ten minutes for a bit of a jog every day. It doesn’t have to be anything more than jogging in place, and that ten minutes can be two 5-minute sessions. Five minutes before work can help get the blood flowing and the brain in gear, and another five when we get home can help shake off some of the day’s stress.
All in all, whether you get your exercise by spreading your workouts out during the course of the week or cram it all into a fun weekend, the benefits are numerous and well worth the effort.