Expert Health Articles

"Weekend Warrior"

What are your thoughts on a “weekend warrior”? Is it the busy weekday person who only has time for vigorous exercise on the weekend? Is it the overweight person who vows for the 50th time to get in shape? Either of these views typically has a negative connotation. Because of time constraints or increased temporary motivation, these people generally tend to overdo it on the weekends and create situations where overuse injuries are more common than people who complete regular exercise most days of the week. This is part of the reason health care professionals typically recommend regular exercise most days of the week. However, despite this, the health effects studied of “weekend warriors” have shown reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other causes compared to other inactive physical activity patterns.


Following a study in 2017, adults who take part in 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity in one or two sessions per week were associated with a 30% lower mortality when compared to people with an inactive lifestyle. 


However, simply being busy doesn’t equate to living an active lifestyle. Working, parenting, hobbies, etc., all take up time, but if your heart rate doesn’t increase beyond a certain point for a sustained duration, it is not considered productive toward cardio endurance. The target heart rate varies with each individual depending on current age. Normally 50%-70% of maximum heart rate is needed for cardio improvement. Generally, 220 minus your age is considered a maximum heart rate. If you have medical conditions, you are strongly recommended to contact your primary care provider before initiating an exercise plan toward increasing your activity.


You can complete techniques to limit muscle or joint injury. You can start with dynamic stretching, which elongates your muscles while increasing your heart rate and blood flow, such as walking lunges. Once you step into a lunge, pause long enough to sink into the bottom of it until you feel a gentle stretch and raise your opposite arm overhead. This will allow for movement in the shoulder joint while stretching out your hip flexor on the same side. Switch sides and repeat. You also want to build your efforts over the duration of the activity. You can measure your efforts with time or weights. 


Ensure your diet intake is activity-friendly to your body. Easily digestible simple carbohydrates and proteins are typically activity friendly. Also, ensure hydration is a key component for proper fueling of your body. 


Overall, inactivity is way too common, and being active is what matters, not how often you exercise each week. As summer closes and autumn approaches, take advantage of the more pleasant weather outdoors, and don’t be afraid to be a “weekend warrior”!


Jason Wartgow, APRN-CNP

McComb Family Practice

Certified Nurse Practitioner