09 Jan “Weekend Warriors” Reduce Mortality From Heart Disease and Cancer
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gary O’Donovan, Ph.D.
Research Associate: Exercise as Medicine
School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: This study was inspired by the classic Harvard University study of weekend warriors. It was a privilege to work with Professor I-Min Lee, one of the authors of the classic study. Our study was much larger than the classic study.
With greater statistical power, we found that, compared with inactive adults, all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and cancer mortality risks were significantly lower in weekend warriors who performed the recommended amount of 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity in one or two sessions per week. Our study extends the classic study by showing that the benefits of the weekend warrior physical activity pattern are much the same in men and women.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Those readers who already are weekend warriors should keep up the good work. Those readers who wish to become more active should begin with a moderate-intensity exercise like brisk walking. Brisk walking is associated with low risk of injury and it’s important to set realistic goals that provide motivation and build confidence. I would recommend that middle-aged and older adults take part in at least twelve weeks of moderate-intensity exercise before introducing any vigorous-intensity exercise.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: More than 90% of the participants in our study were white; therefore, I’d recommend that the weekend warrior physical activity pattern is investigated in other groups.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: For most people, the benefits of becoming more active far outweigh the risks of remaining inactive. Anyone who has experienced chest pain, dizziness or fainting should see their physician before becoming more active. The authors have no conflicts of interest.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
O’Donovan G, Lee I, Hamer M, Stamatakis E. Association of “Weekend Warrior” and Other Leisure Time Physical Activity Patterns With Risks for All-Cause, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 09, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.8014
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