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The total amount of exercise is more important than the exercise pattern… The key is regularity and appropriate intensity

With the hustle and bustle of modern life, few people will have enough time to exercise during the week. What if you could be healthy by exercising once or twice a week when you have free time like on the weekend? People who do not exercise during the week and exercise only on the weekend are usually called ‘weekend warriors’. How we distribute physical activity in a week and how the pattern affects health can be an important factor in establishing an exercise strategy for health.

A study by Dr. Shaan Khurshid of Massachusetts General Hospital, recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), sheds new light on the health benefits of being a weekend warrior. In the study, which included 90,000 participants in their 60s, the researchers found that exercising at least two and a half hours per week had a similar reduction in cardiovascular disease risk compared to exercising regularly for a week, even if it was all on one or two days.

ⓒ Sisa Journal photo material

Weekend Exercising Lowers Cardiovascular Disease Risk

The researchers first grouped the participants into a ‘weekend warrior’ group, who did more than half of their weekly workouts on one or two days, a ‘regular activity’ group, which was split evenly throughout the week, and an ‘inactive’ group, who did not meet the 2.5-hour-per-week exercise guideline. Divide by and compare. Compared to the non-exercise inactive group, both the weekend warrior and regular activity groups showed no significant reductions in atrial fibrillation (22%, 19% in the weekend warrior group and regular activity group, respectively) and myocardial infarction (27%, 35% in the weekend warrior group and regular activity group, respectively) during the follow-up period of 6.3 years. ), stroke (21% by 17%), and heart failure (38% by 36%) were significantly reduced. This breaks the common sense that exercise should be done regularly throughout the week to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, revealing that the total amount of exercise is more important than the exercise pattern.

In fact, there have been previous studies that have given insight into ‘weekend warrior’ movement patterns. A 2020 study found that the pattern of physical activity itself, whether focused on weekends or dispersed during the week, did not significantly affect health outcomes, and that total activity was more important. Another study, published the same year, showed that high-intensity physical activity lowered arterial stiffness, regardless of how the activity was split throughout the week.

Considering these results, it seems clear that every moment of exercise is precious and important. Current guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Heart Association recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and death, but do not specify the optimal interval for exercise. . Although the mechanisms that confer health benefits from exercising on weekends are still unclear, this study suggests that exercising only on weekends may provide health benefits.

In conclusion, the ‘weekend warrior’ style of exercise seems to be a good strategy to exercise for life for those who do not have time to exercise during the week. However, it should be noted that this does not mean that you have to work out too hard on weekends to make up for the lack of physical activity during the week, as if paying off a debt. As always, it’s important to listen to your body and avoid overwork. As mentioned earlier, every moment of exercise has a significant impact on your body and health, and the most important thing is to find a routine that works for you and stick to it. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a daily exerciser, the key is to do regular, moderate-intensity exercise from a mid- to long-term perspective.

© Sisa Journal Unauthorized reproduction and redistribution prohibited

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