Exercise – it’s the one thing we’ve all become experts at lying about to ourselves. From overworked professionals to stay-at-home moms, everyone sets fitness goal that they aren’t always successful in achieving. But there’s a community of exercise-fanatics out there who seem to have been able to strike a balance between long hours at work and finding the time exercise. They call themselves ‘Weekend Warriors’ and they approach exercise very differently from the rest of us.

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How it Works

According to a report published by the World Health Organisation on recommended levels of physical activity, adults require a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity over the course of a week. So, when you do the math, that works out to 30 minutes of physical activity per day over the five weekdays in a week. It doesn’t sound like much, but anyone who’s been looking to get fitter is more than aware of how difficult it can.

However, there’s one small technical snag – there’s nothing in there that says that you have to split up all that exercise. Theoretically, you could complete all 150 minutes in one or two activity sessions and thereby achieve your exercise targets.

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The Path of the Weekend Warrior

According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine – a peer-reviewed medical journal published monthly by the American Medical Association – not only does this form of exercise work just as well as conventional daily exercise, but it also appears equally effective at preventing heart disease and cancer. Moreover, you gain all the benefits of regular exercise, including a 30% lower risk of mortality over inactive people. The study surveyed 64,000 people to arrive at these results. In an interview with The Telegraph, Professor Mark Hamer, the senior author of the research paper, said: “The duration and frequency of the activity don’t seem to be associated with the health outcomes. You probably have a threshold of around 150 minutes to get the benefits, but over that barrier you don’t gain much.”

Professor Hamer also added that the main factor for the success of the weekend warrior workout plan is intensity.“More than 90% of weekend warriors reported doing participation sports (like cycling and tennis) and they seem to exercise more vigorously, which is consistent with the notion of the classic weekend warrior who pulls on their football boots or picks up their tennis racket and goes hell for leather,” Hamer says in the same interview.

Beware of the Risks

It’s not all fun and games, though. If you aren’t someone who’s used to physical activity, simply picking up a mountain bike and going for a two-hour-long trip could do you more harm than good. In the search for the long-term benefits of exercise, it’s important not to ignore what your body is going through at the time of exercising itself. If you aren’t careful and don’t listen to your body, you could be putting yourself at risk of sudden cardiac arrest or acute injury, including muscle sprains and tears, apart from sustaining joint damage.

Start off easy instead. Try moderate levels of exercise just to get in the groove of things before upgrading your intensity levels. Start off with a short jog, cycle ride, or swimming session rather than attempting to transform into a triathlete overnight. Take your time figuring out how best to utilise the one or two sessions in your weekend warrior session. There’s really no rush, especially since you’ll be adding onto your years of life soon enough.

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