#348 Too Busy to Exercise? New Study Shows Weekend Warrior Exercisers Get the Same Benefit

Too Busy to Exercise? New Study Shows Weekend Warrior Exercisers Get the Same Benefit

In our fast-paced lives, finding the time for daily exercise can be a challenge. But here’s some fantastic news that might just make your day: a groundbreaking study conducted by Harvard Medical School, led by Dr. Patrick Elenor, who was my former Stanford medical student and current chief of cardiology at Harvard, reveals that you can enjoy the same health benefits with concentrated weekend workouts as you would with daily exercise.

The Importance of Physical Activity:

Guidelines have long recommended at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week for overall health benefits. However, the big question has always been whether it’s better to spread your exercise evenly throughout the week or concentrate it into just a couple of days.

The Study:

To answer this question, the study examined data from the UK Biobank cohort, which included 89,573 individuals. These participants wore accelerometers to track their physical activity levels between June 8, 2013, and December 30, 2015.

The researchers compared three exercise patterns: the “active weekend warrior” (achieving at least 150 minutes with more than 50% of total exercise over 1-2 days), “active regular” (achieving at least 150 minutes spread out fairly evenly throughout the week), and “inactive” (achieving less than 150 minutes).

The Positive Findings:

The results of the study are incredibly encouraging. Both the ‘active weekend warrior’ and ‘active regular’ groups showed similarly lower risks of heart disease.

Atrial Fibrillation Episodes: Active weekend warriors saw 22% fewer AFib episodes, and active regular exercisers saw 19% fewer AFib episodes when compared to inactive people.

Heart Attacks: For heart attacks, the active weekend warriors enjoyed a 27% lower risk, while the daily exercisers enjoyed a 35% lower risk than couch potatoes.

Heart Failure Risk: When it came to heart failure risks, the results were similar. Weekend warrior exercisers had a 38% lower risk, and the daily exercisers had a 36% lower risk when compared to couch potatoes.

Stroke Risk: For the dreaded risk of a stroke, once again, weekend warrior exercisers experienced 21% fewer strokes, and the daily exercisers experienced a 17% lower risk.

Hard-Core Exercisers Had the Same Positive Benefits:

Interestingly, when Dr. Patrick Elenor and his team examined the ‘hard-core’ exercisers, those who engaged in 230 minutes or more of exercise each week, they discovered a similar outcome. Both the weekend warriors and the daily exercisers experienced significantly fewer instances of atrial fibrillation, heart attacks, or heart failure when compared to couch potatoes.


The study’s conclusion is clear: you don’t need to exercise every day to reap the rewards of physical activity. Concentrating your exercise efforts within 1-2 days can provide the same health benefits as spreading it out throughout the week. So, if your schedule is hectic and you find it challenging to work out daily, don’t be discouraged. Embrace the role of a weekend warrior, and you’ll still be on track to a healthier, happier you.

Remember, the most important thing is to find an exercise routine that fits your lifestyle and is sustainable in the long run. So, get out there, make the most of your weekends, and enjoy the many benefits that come with being a weekend warrior! Your health will thank you for it.

About the Photo:

This photo captures a memorable weekend adventure that perfectly complements the uplifting message of the article. In the image, you’ll see the fall colors adorning the Brighton Ski resort from a 10,000 foot view.

Together with my two teenagers, we embarked on an exhilarating mountain bike ride along the scenic Wasatch Crest Trail this past Saturday. This photo embodies the spirit of seizing weekends for fulfilling and health-boosting activities, even amidst our busy lives.


Before embarking on any new exercise program or making significant changes to your current routine, it’s essential to prioritize your health and safety. Please consult with your healthcare provider or a qualified medical professional before starting a new exercise program. They can assess your individual health status, provide valuable guidance, and tailor an exercise plan that is safe and suitable for your unique needs and circumstances.

Disclaimer Policy: This website is intended to give general information and does not provide medical advice. This website does not create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Dr. John Day. If you have a medical problem, immediately contact your healthcare provider. Information on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Dr. John Day is not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your medical decisions.