,Everyone knows that physical activity is important for weight loss right!. But are weekend warriors – ie only working out on the weekend, really enough to get rid of that gut?
Unfortunately, there’s little research addressing this key question. Current research includes studies from the American College of Sports Medicine, the Centres for Disease Control, and the World Health Organisation. Findings suggest that physical activity to lose weight can range anywhere from 150 minutes a week to 60 minute sessions on most days of the week.
Such large variances from the different organisations can be quite confusing. However there is good news for weekend warriors. New research has found that a “weekend warrior” approach to exercise could be just as effective or even better for weight loss when compared to exercising regularly.
The recent study (see full article here) found that weekly physical activity done fewer times but with longer duration was more effective for weight loss. This is compared to shorter but more frequent exercise sessions.
The 24-week-long study included 75 women, ages 18-40, who were overweight and obese but otherwise healthy. The participants all had sedentary lifestyles with a willingness to introduce prescribed dietary changes and physical activity. The study randomly assigned the participants to one of two groups: a high-frequency exercise group and a low-frequency exercise group.
The high-frequency group completed 50 minutes of brisk walking six days per week. The low-frequency group completed 100 minutes of brisk walking three days per week. Both groups attended biweekly visits with a dietitian and exercise coach, and all used pedometers to measure adherence. At the end of the study, 59 participants successfully completed the 24 weeks.
The results found that the group who worked out for a longer time but fewer days per week lost significantly more weight than the high-frequency exercise group. The low frequency groups lost more weight even though they had the same dietary guidelines and total time of physical activity as the other group.
The study researchers commented “The findings may be helpful for those who are neither willing nor able to schedule time for physical activity almost every day to achieve weight loss,”
For weekend warriors, the researchers’ findings offer encouragement. When it comes to weight loss, it’s not necessary to take an “all-or-nothing” daily approach to physical activity.
Based on this study, it may not be necessary to exercise every day, or even most days. However, the researchers point out that other studies have found there are still great health benefits when it comes to working out consistently.
For example, studies have found that regular exercise might help to ward off injuries and be better for heart health. Before starting any exercise program, it’s important to discuss appropriate activity level with a physician.
Regardless of how often you work out, there’s little question that doing the minimum of 150 mins weekly is beneficial. So get to it, weekend warrior or weekly work out enthusiast, some is still better than none.
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