In contrast with current guidelines, non-conventional physical activity patterns reduce all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer mortality, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.1

According to World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, people between 18 and 64 years old should exercise for about 225 minutes per week, including 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise. For this surveillance-based study, researchers evaluated data from 63,591 respondents to determine in particular whether an intense 1-2 session per week workout regime (the “weekend warrior” regime) is sufficient to reduce all-cause-, CVD-, and cancer-related mortality.

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All participants were at aged at least 40 years; the mean age was 58.6 years; more than 90% of participants were Caucasian. The respondents were placed in 1 of 4 groups: 39,947 as “inactive,” 14,224 as “insufficiently active,” 2341 as “weekend warriors,” and 7079 as “regularly active.”

Adjusting for age, sex, smoking status, occupation, and long-standing illness, the authors found, compared to inactive participants, the following mortality hazard ratios: Insufficiently active participants: all-cause: 0.69; CVD: 0.63; cancer: 0.86; Weekend warriors: all cause: 0.70; CVD: 0.60; cancer: 0.82; Regularly active participants: all cause: 0.65; CVD: 0.59; cancer: 0.79.

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These results show, according to the study’s authors, that “different leisure time physical activity patterns”—including the “weekend warrior regime—may reduce one’s all-cause-, CVD-, and cancer-related risk of mortality. 


  1. O’Donovan G, Lee IM, Hamer M, Stamatakis E. Association of “weekend warrior” and other leisure time activity patterns with risks for all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 Jan 9. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.8014 [Epub ahead of print]