New Study Finds That Exercising To Just Once Weekly Can Still Help With Weight Loss


A recent study conducted by a team of researchers has unveiled an intriguing revelation in the realm of fitness: even with just one or two exercise sessions per week, individuals can attain comparable benefits to those who engage in more frequent workouts, particularly in terms of weight management, provided that they adhere to certain minimum thresholds of duration and intensity.

According to guidelines established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and many governmental bodies, adults are advised to engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week.

However, numerous individuals aspire to meet these exercise recommendations yet encounter challenges due to the demanding and time-consuming nature of modern lifestyles.

Published in the journal Obesity, the study sheds light on the concept of “weekend warriors” – individuals who concentrate their exercise efforts solely on Saturdays and/or Sundays. Surprisingly, the research demonstrates that these weekend warriors can achieve equivalent weight loss outcomes to those who exercise on a daily basis, given that they fulfill the WHO’s exercise guidelines.

The research team anticipates that their findings will be particularly beneficial for individuals whose occupations entail prolonged periods of sitting, such as taxi or bus drivers, as well as office workers. This insight offers hope and encouragement for individuals striving to maintain a healthy lifestyle amidst the constraints of contemporary routines.

“The weekend warrior pattern is worth promoting in individuals who cannot meet the recommended frequency in current guidelines,” said corresponding author Lihua Zhang, a healthcare scientist at Fuwai Hospital as well as a professor at Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, China.

“These people are struggling to catch up in their exercise plans in daily life to offset the hazard of a sedentary lifestyle but have less free time to get to the gym. Our study could offer them an alternative choice to keep fit.”

Researchers examined data from over 9,600 individuals who were aged 20 to 59, who participated in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey spanning from the years 2011 to 2018. Utilizing dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and other metrics like BMI, the team evaluated both abdominal and overall body fat composition.

Their analysis delved into the relationship between these measures and the participants’ levels of physical activity, classified into three groups: inactive, ‘weekend warriors,’ and consistently active individuals.

The findings revealed that both ‘weekend warriors’ and regularly active participants exhibited reduced abdominal and overall body fat, along with smaller waist circumferences and lower BMIs compared to their inactive counterparts. This underscores the significant impact of consistent physical activity, even if undertaken primarily during weekends, in maintaining healthy body composition and weight.

“The main takeaway is that people should be active in any manner that suits their lifestyle,” said Dr. Beverly Tchang. She’s an Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “All types of exercise are welcome, whether that be running, hiking, cycling, climbing, or other options.”