Among our team of Accredited Exercise Physiologists at Absolute Balance, one of the most common complaints we hear is finding the time to fit exercise into the weekly schedule. Through the weekly grind of work, family, putting dinner on the table and attempting some form of social life, we often place exercise on the lower end of our priority list. Unfortunately, over time this neglect of physical activity can manifest in the form of general aches, pains and feelings of lethargy, or in the worst case scenario, injury and illness… Ready for the good news?
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association1 investigated the association between physical activity and health in “weekend warriors” who performed all of their exercise in 1 or 2 sessions per week. Overall, the findings revealed that the “weekend warrior” and other leisure time physical activity patterns characterised by 1 or 2 sessions per week may be sufficient to reduce all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality risks.
So, although we should all be aiming to be active on most, preferably all days, for optimal health and fitness, you can rest assure that 1-2 effective sessions will keep you ticking over you during those crazy busy periods! However, to ensure that you’re getting “the best bang for your buck”, focus on full-body strength training via compound movements such as squats and deadlifts, thereby involving greater muscle mass and inducing a bigger training effect than isolation exercises (i.e. leg extension and seated leg-curl). The use of high-intensity intervals is also a great cardiovascular conditioning tool in this context, for instance, 30 s ‘hard’ cycling followed by 30 s ‘easy’ cycling for 5-10 rounds.
Ultimately, being time poor does not have to mean your health and wellness takes a hit. Rather, be motivated and organised for the few training sessions you can complete and own your “warrior” status!
Dr Jenny Conlon (BSc, MSc, PhD Sports Science)
1O’Donovan G, Lee I, Hamer M, Stamatakis E. Association of “Weekend Warrior” and Other Leisure Time Physical Activity Patterns With Risks for All-Cause, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 09, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.8014