medwireNews: Research shows that people who pack their weekly recommended minimum dose of exercise into one or two sessions still reap a good proportion of the benefits – although more frequent exercise would still be better.
The 2341 “weekend warriors” identified in English and Scottish national surveys had a 30% reduced risk for all-cause mortality and a 40% reduced risk for death from cardiovascular disease, relative to 39,947 inactive adults. The benefits were on a par with the respective 31% and 37% reductions seen for 14,224 insufficiently active people, and were independent of age, gender, smoking status, occupation, and chronic illness.
When insufficiently active people were used as a reference, weekend warriors had no additional survival or cardiovascular benefits, report Gary O’Donovan (Loughborough University, UK) and colleagues in JAMA Internal Medicine. But 7079 people who met the minimum activity recommendations over three or more sessions had a significant 14% mortality risk reduction.
Writing in an accompanying commentary, Hannah Arem and Loretta DiPietro, both from George Washington University, DC, USA, caution that “the role of physical activity patterns in reducing mortality risk may need to be considered within the context of one’s sedentary patterns.”
They highlight a recent meta-analysis in The Lancet, which showed that regular exercise offsets the effects of prolonged sitting, but that limiting sitting time did not compensate for the effects of not getting enough exercise.
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