Work out with this weekend warrior workout plan

Didn’t find time to exercise this week? Stop feeling guilty and get your trainers on.

Researchers have found that weekend warriors who exercise two days a week can reap the same benefits as exercising all week.

According to a team of cardiologists in Beijing, reporting recently in the journal obesityif you fit most of your physical activity into a weekend, you’ll get the same health benefits as a week’s worth of activity.

According to government guidelines, adults should do at least two hours and 30 minutes and up to five hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (the kind that leaves you wheezing but able to chat) or at least one hour and 15 minutes to two hours. and 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity (the full variety that makes it difficult to hold a conversation) throughout the week.

Ideally, this level of exercise should be spread evenly over four to five days a week, or every day, a goal that many struggle to achieve.

Even if you start the week with good intentions and plan to exercise daily, by Friday you may find yourself close to the goals you set on Monday.

However, recent evidence, based on findings from more than 9,600 participants aged 20 to 59, suggests that those who condense their weekly quota of activity into one or two days still reap similar health benefits those who distribute their exercise over a week.

The results showed that the weekend warrior and regular active groups had less belly fat, waist circumference, whole body fat mass and BMI than the sedentary group.

It is not the first time that researchers have shown the benefits of this approach.

Three years ago, researchers who analyzed lifestyle data from 350,978 mostly middle-aged adults reported in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine that it didn’t matter whether participants packed their physical activity into two days or spread it more evenly throughout the week, both approaches improved longevity and reduced the risk of premature death compared to a sedentary lifestyle .

Last summer, a team from Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital analyzed UK biobank data on 89,573 people in their 60s and found that all the athletes, already head warriors week or not, they had a much lower risk of heart disease than those who did nothing.

Sports psychologist Dearbhla McCullough says the message is don’t beat yourself up if you can only exercise on the weekends.

This research suggests that it’s the total amount of physical activity and not so much the pattern of exercise that matters for health gains, he says.

If you’re too busy during the week, then doing something on the weekends is a nice reward, and you shouldn’t feel like you’re falling short.

As a weekend warrior, you should commit to 75 minutes of moderate exercise or 38 minutes of vigorous exercise on Saturday and Sunday.

There are benefits to exercising, even if you can only do it at weekends, says Patrick McGrath, trainer to several of Ireland’s top athletes.

While it’s always better to exercise more often, anything is better than nothing, and weekends are an important time to workout for many.

Image: iStock

These are the rules for training on weekends:

Stretch before exercise and last at night

Your muscles will need some attention if you plan to fit all your exercise into two days and do dynamic high knee stretches, leg swings, arm circles, before any aerobic workout, but also to relax at the end of the day with some gentle stretching.

If you can stretch out a little yoga-style on a Friday evening, that would be great, says personal trainer Dalton Wong.

Even five to ten minutes of gentle stretching during the weekend would be beneficial to your health and muscle flexibility.

Go for a five-minute walk on a Saturday morning

Getting up and heading straight into an exercise session when you’re not used to it is asking for trouble.

Going outside for five minutes means valuable steps are taken and it exposes you to natural daylight, which helps reset your body clock.

A blast of fresh air and movement is the best way to start the weekend, says McCullough.

Gradually increase the pace towards the end of the walk to get the endorphins and feel-good hormones flooding through your body.

Image: iStock
Image: iStock

Try circuits, a bootcamp or a Saturday mid-morning interval session

When training is reduced to two days, time for recovery must be taken into account.

Waiting until the afternoon or evening to do a more vigorous form of exercise means you have less time for your muscles and mind to recover and reset before you’re back at it on Sunday.

Think of it as a recovery gap, and the longer the time between your weekend sessions, the kinder your body is, says Wong.

Make sure you rehydrate and eat something after a hard workout to jumpstart the recovery process.

Aim long and slow on Sunday mornings

Sunday mornings are probably the time of the week when people have the most free time to exercise.

For this reason, make this the time when you do your longest, moderate-intensity exercise, the kind where you reach 50-60% of your maximum heart rate or can chat while on the move.

Depending on your fitness base, start with about 45 minutes of moderate walking or cycling and gradually increase the duration over successive weekends, says McGrath.

Ultimately, you’re aiming for between an hour and 75 minutes of this type of activity.

Image: iStock
Image: iStock

Take up a new sport or exercise class

Trying any new sport or activity requires a mental focus as well as different demands on the muscles.

Many are a vigorous form of exercise, and because you’re playing with or against others, time can seem to pass faster.

I recommend trying a new sport that will challenge the body in different ways and also means you don’t get bored and lose motivation, says McCullough.

Anything that gets your heart rate up and includes elements of twisting, turning and jumping will build strength and mobility, but also keep you interested and motivated.

Image: iStock
Image: iStock

Press in 20 seconds of squat and lunge

While the latest study only focused on the benefits of weekend warrior aerobic workouts, government guidelines suggest we should also add resistance training each week.

A circuit session would be ideal, but if it’s not for you, the added extras will be beneficial.

Think about the incidentals, not things like holding a plank for three or four minutes to the point of discomfort that will sabotage your weekend efforts.

Lugging heavy shopping there from the car, adding an extra 100 steps to your daily count, and settling into a 20-second wall or squat are the kinds of things you fit in easily that will make a difference in the long run. to muscle preservation and bone density if you maintain them over time, Wong says.

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