Weekend warriors reap survival benefit

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  • 1-2 sessions of moderate or vigorous physical activity/wk are enough to reduce risks for all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer-related mortality.

Why this matters

  • Health guidelines do not specify frequency, intensity, or duration of activity.

Study design

  • Pooled activity data for 63,591 adults aged ≥40 y (mean, 58.6 y; 45.9% male) participating in the England and Scottish Health Survey from 1994 to 2012, matched with mortality records.
  • Regular activity (11.1%) was defined as ≥150 min/wk moderate-intensity or ≥75 min/wk vigorous-intensity exercise; weekend warriors (3.7%) achieved this in 1-2 sessions, whereas insufficiently active persons (22.4%) did not achieve either endpoint.
  • Models were adjusted for age, sex, smoking, occupation, and long-standing illness, using inactive adults (62.8%) as a comparator.
  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • 8802 deaths occurred during a mean 8.8 y, including 2780 from CVD and 2526 from cancer.
  • Weekend warriors, insufficiently active, and regularly active adults showed 30%, 31%, and 35% reduced risks for all-cause mortality, respectively.
  • Weekend warriors, insufficiently active, and regularly active adults had 40%, 37%, and 41% reduced risks for CVD death; cancer-related deaths were reduced by 18%, 14%, and 21%, respectively.


  • Retrospective design; reliance on self-reporting.
  • Population >90% white.
  • Few weekend warriors.
  • Reverse causation cannot be excluded.