A “weekend warrior”, regular exercise reduces both the risk of death

November 20, 2022

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The authors report no relevant financial information.


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All-cause and cardiovascular mortality rates were reduced in people who were regularly physically active and in those who were only physically active on weekends, according to a research letter in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

“Weekend warfare patterns and regular active physical activity were each associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality compared with inactive physical activity.” Setor K. KunutsorBSc, MBChB, MPhil, PhD, associate professor of evidence at Bristol Medical School, UK, and colleagues wrote. “Risk reductions for weekend racers and regularly active PA patterns were similar.”

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All-cause and cardiovascular mortality was reduced in subjects who were regularly physically active as well as those who were only physically active on weekends.
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In a systematic review and meta-analysis of four published observational cohort studies on the topic, Kunutsor and colleagues analyzed the relationship between different levels of physical activity and the risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes. The physical activity patterns in these studies were “weekend warrior,” which is one or two sessions per week, “regularly active,” which is many sessions spread throughout the week, and inactive.

The four studies included in the analysis were published between 2004 and 2022 and involved a total of 426,428 participants (weighted mean age, 44.5 years).

During a weighted mean follow-up of 10.1 years, there were 6,910 CVD deaths and 32,328 all-cause deaths. Each study analyzed the association of weekend warriors and regular exercise patterns compared with inactive exercise patterns with risk of CVD outcomes using accelerometers or self-reported questionnaires.

Compared with the inactive group, the weekend warrior group had a reduced risk of CVD mortality (adjusted RR = 0.73; 95% CI, 0.6-0.9) and all-cause mortality (aRR = 0.83; 95% CI , 0.77-0.9), Kunutsor and colleagues wrote.

Similarly, those who exercised regularly had a reduced risk of CVD mortality (aRR = 0.73; 95% CI, 0.66-0.79) and all-cause mortality (aRR = 0.82; 95 % CI, 0.79-0.84), they wrote.

In meta-regression analyses, regular physical activity and weekend patterns were associated with similar risk reductions in cardiovascular mortality (P = .75) and all-cause mortality (P = .51).

Setor K. Kunutsor

“These findings may have implications for public health practice,” Kunutsor and colleagues wrote. “First, it further emphasizes the need for the population to adhere to physical activity guidelines, given the cardiovascular and survival benefits associated with these levels.” Second, similar CVD and mortality benefits associated with weekend warriors and regular active physical activity patterns may be encouraging news for populations unable to meet recommended physical activity levels due to busy lifestyles.

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