Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

Being active only in the weekends may be sufficient to reduce mortality risk

Association of “Weekend Warrior” and Other Leisure Time Physical Activity Patterns With Risks for All-Cause, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer Mortality

O’Donovan G, Lee I-M, Hamer M et al. - JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 9, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.8014


Physical activity is associated with reduced risks of all-cause mortality, CVD- and cancer mortality and the WHO recommends a minimum of 150 min/week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 min/week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or equivalent combinations, for individuals aged 18-64 years [1,2]. However, it is unclear how frequency, intensity, and duration of activity interact to achieve health benefits [3]. For example, in a limited study sample, individuals who do all their exercise during the weekend, the so-called ‘weekend warriors’ had lower all-cause mortality [4].

In this analysis of 11 population-based cohorts (respondents ≥40 yrs to the Health Survey for England and Scottish Health Survey), the associations between physical activity patterns and all-cause mortality, CVD- and cancer mortality was evaluated. The secondary objective was to investigate how frequency, intensity, and duration of physical activity might influence mortality. Individuals were divided into inactive (no moderate- or vigorous-intensity activities), insufficiently active (<150 min/wk in moderate and <75 min/wk in vigorous-intensity activities), weekend warrior (≥150 min/wk in moderate or ≥75 min/wk in vigorous-intensity from 1 or 2 sessions) and regularly active (≥150 min/wk moderate and ≥75 min/wk vigorous intensity from ≥3 sessions).

Main results


Different physical activity patterns are associated with reduced risks for all-cause-, CVD-, and cancer mortality. Both the weekend warrior pattern, as well as less than 150/75 min/wk moderate/vigorous-intensity physical activity may already be sufficient to reduce risks for these mortalities.


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Find this article online at JAMA Intern Med