Exercise routines for the weekend

Conventional wisdom says that you need at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week to stay healthy. For many, that means training every weekday. But the studies of recent years suggest that exercising only on the weekend can offer comparable health benefits, given enough time and intense enough exercise.

“Exercise is exercise, no matter what the calendar says,” said Carrie Pagliano, a physical therapist based in Arlington, Va., and a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association.

A wide study published last year in the medical journal JAMA found that people who performed recommended weekly levels Physically active, including so-called weekend warriors, experienced lower rates of illness and death than inactive people.

But before you head out for a run (bike or rollerblade) this Saturday, here are five tips from exercise scientists to kick off your weekend routine with maximum confidence and intelligence.

When you’re short on time and planning your training priorities, make sure strength training is at the top of your list.

resistance training it’s the most important activity you can do,” said Bradley Schoenfeld, professor of exercise science at Lehman College in New York. “It is the main type of exercise that will prevent age-related loss of muscle mass, and that has huge consequences” for our ability to live independently, avoid injury and keep moving into old age, he added.

Schoenfeld also recommended building muscle before cardio so you don’t get too tired. Just two 15-20 minute sessions over a weekend—with weights, resistance bands or body-weight exercises like push-ups and calisthenics—can have a big impact, he said. “Any type of activity where you are applying tension against the muscles.”

Max Castrogaleas, an exercise physiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, suggests working your upper body on Saturday and your lower body on Sunday (or vice versa).

“Mix it up,” he said, “so you don’t overload any muscle group.”

For example, consider working your upper body with push ups either pull ups on Saturday and the bottom with squatslunges or glute bridges on Sunday.

Once you’ve done resistance training, maximize your training time with aerobic activity that activates all the major muscle groups, suggested Tamanna Singh, a cardiologist and co-director of the Sports Heart Center at the Cleveland Clinic.

If you are a beginner or have little practice, start with short, low-intensity aerobic sessions; for example, 15 minutes of easy cycling or swimming, Singh explained.

On the other hand, if you start from a level with greater physical conditioning, you should opt for moderate aerobic exercise sessions of about 60-75 minutes on Saturday and, again, on Sunday. If the exercise is really vigorous (enough to make it hard to talk), the duration can be 35-40 minutes.

“Riding a bike is great, row it’s great, using an elliptical machine is great,” Singh said. “Swim It’s great for people who have a musculoskeletal problem.” Other experts recommend the kettlebell either the fighting ropeswhich offer cardio and strength training.

Schoenfeld recommended high intensity interval trainingor HIIT, especially for people who also don’t have much time to exercise on the weekends.

If you only have Saturday and Sunday to work out, you might be tempted to cram seven days of movement into one weekend. According to Schoenfeld, that sometimes leads to injuries.

“Know your limits,” he warned. She said people “often try to do more than they’re capable of” or exercise on weekends the same way they did when they exercised five days a week.

If you don’t exercise throughout the week, your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems may not be as conditioned as they would be if you were more active. “If you feel something hurts, you should probably stop,” Singh said. “Even if you say: ‘This is the only time I can exercise’”.

You can also work with a personal trainer or physical therapist for a few sessions to design a safe plan that is tailored to your specific needs and exercise history.

If you only exercise moderately to vigorously on the weekends, your body may need a little extra TLC before and after a workout to stay healthy.

“Don’t start cold and don’t end cold,” Pagliano said. “If you haven’t been active during the week, the body just isn’t ready.”

Pagliano recommends a dynamic warm-up, ideally five to 10 minutes of light aerobic activity, such as a brisk walk or easy jog. “You’re getting a little bit of mobility in those muscles, so they’re getting used to, ‘hey, let’s start doing something now,’” she said.

After training, keep moving for a few minutes to allow your body to cool down; walking around the gym or your block should do the trick. And be proactive in helping your muscles recover. “Every time you exercise, you break down muscle tissue,” Castrogaleas said. But if you work out on Saturdays and Sundays in a row, your body doesn’t have as much time to heal.

Cooldowns help our cardiovascular and respiratory systems slowly return to baseline levels, which can help reduce the buildup of lactate, a waste chemical from exercise, in the blood, which in turn can reduce stiffness and muscle pain, Pagliano said.

After working out, take some time to stretch and massage or roll on foam rolls on your sore muscles. Getting a good night’s sleep before and after exercise, staying hydrated, and eating nutrient-dense foods can also aid recovery.

Even if you don’t have time for formal workouts, most experts advise taking short “active breaks” throughout the day, both to build strength and mobility and to prepare your body for the higher intensity workouts on the weekend.

“Even a little bit of movement throughout the week will be better than none,” Singh advised. The more you move during the week, the less likely you are to injure yourself on the weekend.

Singh suggests incorporating into the workweek some five to ten minute exercise sessions that raise the heart rate, especially if you work long hours in front of the computer.

“You can get up every hour on the hour and do something creativesuggested Angie Miller, a personal trainer and lead instructor at the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Do walking lunges around the living room, stand up against the counter and do push-ups or walk up the stairs five times. “All that movement counts,” she added.

You can swap out your desk chair for a stability ball, which some say helps activate your core and postural muscles, Castrogaleas said. Or use a stand up desk and carry a resistance band around the legs for strength exercises from time to time. If you can get away from the computer, make calls while you walk around the block, she added. If you can’t, consider using an under-desk treadmill.

“A few brief moments of exercise can give you many benefits,” he said.

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