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When It Comes To Exercise, What's Better: Quality Or Quantity?

Do you exercise regularly or cram it all in on the weekend?

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When it comes to exercise, everyone wishes they were the diligent, disciplined person who goes to the gym for 30 minutes a day. But most people are either too busy or too lazy to keep up a regular exercise routine so they cram it all in during one or two trips to the gym a week. This begs the question: Who’s healthier, those who get regular exercise or those who go all out once a week?

Recently, JAMA Internal Medicine released a study comparing exercise habits and mortality that included 63,591 respondents in England and Scotland from 1994 to 2012. The study found there was basically no difference in mortality rates from cardiovascular disease or cancer between those that exercised regularly versus those that crammed their activity into one or two vigorous sessions a week. The important factor was whether the respondents got 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week.

The researchers discovered that crammers or “weekend warriors” had a 40 percent lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, 30 percent lower risk of overall death and 18 percent lower risk of death due to cancer than those who didn’t exercise at all. “Quality may be more important than quantity,” Gary O’Donovan, a research associate at Loughborough University in England, who led the new study, said. “Reductions in risk were similar in the weekend warriors and the regularly active.”

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