Boost your heart health with weekend exercise, new study suggests

The study's findings offer an exciting new perspective on exercise but it's essential to approach intense weekend workouts with caution.

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Web Desk
Harvard University reveals that longer workout sessions over the weekend might be just the ticket to a healthier heart. Representational image by Unsplash
Harvard University reveals that longer workout sessions over the weekend might be just the ticket to a healthier heart. Representational image by Unsplash

Great news for you if you are struggling to find time for exercise during the week as a groundbreaking study by Harvard University reveals that longer workout sessions over the weekend might be just the ticket to a healthier heart.

If you've been feeling the pressure to fit in exercise on a daily basis, this research suggests that concentrating your physical activity into one or two days a week could provide significant benefits to your heart health. Experts have long recommended getting 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every week to keep your heart in good shape. What's intriguing is that this study found that "weekend warriors," who squeezed all their activity into a couple of days, managed to reduce their risk of heart attack by 27% and heart failure by 38%. This discovery challenges the conventional wisdom of spreading exercise throughout the week.

The study's lead author, Dr Patrick Ellinor, was surprised by the findings. He noted that the ability to pack in exercise over the weekend or on just two days was unexpected but could be a game-changer for people with busy schedules.

To reach these conclusions, the researchers studied data from the UK Biobank, a comprehensive database of more than half a million participants aged 40 to 69. By using wrist-mounted accelerometers, they tracked participants' physical activity around the clock.

For those considering adopting this "weekend warrior" approach, experts offer some crucial advice. It's important to gradually build up your exercise routine and include proper warm-up and cool-down exercises to prevent injuries. Overexertion can lead to strains, so be sure to listen to your body.

Remember, it's not just the quantity but also the quality of your activity that matters. Low-impact exercises like swimming and cycling are gentle on your joints and can help you avoid injuries. However, experts stress that regular physical activity should remain a goal for maintaining overall fitness.