The Damaging Effects The Weekend Is Having On Your Body

Even if we dread work, there's no discounting the fact that there's a sense of routine during the weekdays. We wake up at a certain time, eat our meals at regular intervals, get some movement in at the gym or at home, and go to bed at a reasonable hour. 

For most of us, the weekend is a time to let go. It's like we wait like good, rule-following kids the entire week until Friday comes when we can color outside the lines. But apparently, there are a few things we might be doing come Friday that are actually damaging our bodies. 

To start with, we might laze around a lot more over the weekend. According to New York-based physical therapist and trainer, Scott Weiss (via Prevention), this isn't the best for your body or your mind. "The less you do, the less you'll want to do. Plus, sitting on the couch all day stresses your lower back, tightens your hip flexors, alters your posture, and causes stagnation of blood, venous, lymph flow, and digestion," explained the trainer. 

On the flip side, people who don't work out during the week might overdo it at the gym during the weekend. This is also not the best idea, per Weiss. Only working out during the weekend can put undue stress on your body and pave the way for injuries, according to the physical therapist. 

Something else we do over the weekend that messes with our bodies? Eat too much and eat unhealthy. 

Our food choices matter during the weekend

While we might think twice about opening a bag of chips during the week, the same cannot be said for the weekends. In fact, from Friday through Sunday, we tend to relax our rules on takeout, healthy eating, and binge eating. This can have damaging effects on our bodies. 

A 2015 study published in Cell Metabolism called this "metabolic jet lag" — referring to the jet-lag-like effects we feel from eating out of routine during the weekends. According to the lead author of the study, Shubhroz Gill, we not only eat later meals on the weekends, but we also eat for longer lengths of time. "[People start eating] two or three hours later. Then they [continue eating] until midnight or 1 a.m., because they typically stay up longer on a Friday or Saturday night," explained Gill (via Women's Health). Excessive calorie intake and eating unhealthy foods like sugary treats and highly processed snacks are linked with obesity, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. "[Processed food] bothers our tissues. It bothers our hearts. It bothers our arteries, our brains, our pancreas, our liver and our lungs. And that leads to disease," explained Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a preventive cardiologist at Mayo Clinic.

Also, binge drinking on weekends may seem harmless, but experts think otherwise. While most of us might limit alcohol during the week in the hopes of knocking back more than a few beers when Saturday finally comes, this is probably not the best for your body. Too much alcohol not only means nasty hangovers. It affects your overall health and the quality of your relationships, per the Alcohol Rehab Guide

Sleeping in on the weekend might mess with your body, too

We might also think it's harmless to catch up on sleep during the weekend by staying in bed an extra hour or two, but you might be damaging your health by doing so. Being sleep-deprived during the week and trying to make up for it over the weekend doesn't work, according to research. 

2016 study published in Circulation found a correlation between cardiovascular issues and trying to catch up on sleep during the weekend in women, while a 2019 study published in the journal Sleep found a similar association in women of an average age of 72. What these studies point to is the need for a consistent schedule of quality sleep throughout your week and weekend. "Sleep doctors are always going to recommend consistency. Try to keep the same bedtime, the same wakeup time, day in and day out, every day," shared Dr. Andrew Varga, assistant professor of pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine at Mount Sinai Health System (via Health).

You could also be hindering the quality of your sleep come Sunday night by stressing about Monday. "Your body reacts the same way — fight or flight — as it would if you were being attacked by a tiger," said Wesley Delbridge, a registered dietitian (via The Healthy). 

As boring as it sounds, the only way to avoid damaging your body during the weekend is to try and maintain a similar schedule as your week. Pay attention to how long into the night you're eating, what you're consuming, and how many hours of sleep you're getting and when.