The finding suggests that less frequent bouts of activity, which might fit more easily into a busy lifestyle, offer significant health benefits, even in the obese and those with medical risk factors.
"It is very encouraging news that being physically active on just one or two occasions per week is associated with a lower risk of death, even among people who do some activity but don't quite meet recommended exercise levels," said the study's senior author, Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the University of Sydney.
"However, for optimal health benefits from physical activity it is always advisable to meet and exceed the physical activity recommendations."
Regular physical activity is associated with lower risks of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, and has long been recommended to control weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. The World Health Organization recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, or at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity activity, or equivalent combinations.
But research is yet to establish how the frequency and total weekly dose of activity might best be combined to achieve health benefits. For example, individuals could meet current guidelines by doing 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days of the week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity on just one day of the week.
Those who do all their exercise on one or two days of the week are known as 'weekend warriors'.
Materials provided by University of Sydney. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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