What Happens If You Only Work Out During The Weekend?

If you're too busy to hit the gym during the week, it turns out that working out on the weekends is enough to reap the full benefits of regular exercise and physical activity (via HuffPost). Although it is more ideal to spread out your workouts over the course of the week, research has shown that engaging in 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity in one or two gym sessions is just as beneficial as completing the same amount of exercise spread out over the work week.

A 2017 study found that adults who only exercise on the weekend have a 30% lower risk of death, a 40% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and an 18% lower of risk of cancer than those who maintain a more sedentary lifestyle. "It is very encouraging news that being physically active on just one or two occasions per week is associated with a lower risk of death, even among people who do some activity but don't quite meet recommended exercise levels," Emmanuel Stamatakis, an associate professor at the University of Sydney and the study's lead author, said in a statement. "However, for optimal health benefits from physical activity it is always advisable to meet and exceed the physical activity recommendations."

The potential risk of injury

However, the study does not account for the potential risk of injury that could result from cramming in a week's worth of exercise in one or two days. Engaging in strenuous exercise two days in a row could strain your muscles or even weaken your athletic performance, since there is so little recovery time in between sessions (via The Cut). 

Although this might not affect you if you're already in good shape, prolonged periods of vigorous physical activity may lead to a greater risk injury, fatigue, and soreness, especially if you're not used to working out on a regular basis. That's why it's important to stretch before and after each workout in order to help minimize this risk. "Make sure your body is ready to move," Charlee Atkins, a Master SoulCycle instructor and the founder of Le Sweat, told Elite Daily. "Do a nice dynamic warm-up, and follow your workouts with a good 10-minute stretch."