People who work out only on Saturday and Sunday are considered “weekend warriors.” The exercise routine is typically associated with a more sedentary lifestyle compared to those who get more physical activity each week. However, a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that these weekend exercisers — compared to those who didn’t work out at all — had about a 40 percent lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, this group had a 30 percent lower risk of overall death and 18 percent lower risk of cancer death. The World Health Organization recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, or at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity activity, or equivalent combinations. This new research shows that it's not necessary to hit these benchmarks to still receive a benefit.

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Researchers examined self-reported exercise habits and studied the overall health of 63,591 adults in England and Scotland from 1994 to 2012. "Compared to inactive people, the results reveal that the insufficiently active, weekend warriors and people with regular physical activity patterns had reduced risks of all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality," said the study's senior author Emmanuel Stamatakis, according to Medical Xpress.

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"These results mean that 'weekend warriors' and other leisure-time physical activity patterns characterised by one or two sessions per week may provide beneficial health outcomes even when they fall short of physical activity guidelines," Stamatakis added.

Source: O’Donovan G, Lee I, Hamer M, Stamatakis E. The 'weekend warrior' and other physical activity patterns and the risks of all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2017.

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