Jump to Search Jump to Navigation Jump to Content


819. Association of “Weekend Warrior” and Other Leisure Time Physical Activity Patterns With Risks for All-Cause, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer Mortality

Research Article
Gary O’Donovan, I-Min Lee, Mark Hamer, Emmanuel Stamatakis
February 2017

Commentary by Hannah Tarrant, National Heart Foundation of Australia

More research is required to substantiate the health benefits associated with various physical activity patterns, including the ‘weekend warrior’ phenomenon. Weekend warriors refer to individuals who meet the physical activity recommendations in one or two sessions per week. This study aimed to identify associations between weekend warrior, insufficient and regular physical activity patterns and risks for all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer mortality. It additionally explored the impact of physical activity frequency, duration and intensity on mortality. 

The study was conducted between 1994 and 2016, and included a pooled analysis of house hold-surveillance data collected from 11 cohorts (63 591 participants, 40 years and over) via the self-reported Health Survey for England and Scottish Health Survey. Categories of physical activity were determined which included inactive (no activity), insufficiently active (below recommendations), weekend warrior (achieves recommendations on one to two days per week), and regularly active (achieves recommendations on three or more days per week). Outcome measures included all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality, which was attained via death certificates. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess associations between physical activity patterns and the risk of all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality. Secondary analysis assessed relationships between frequency, intensity and duration of physical activity. 

Results identified that those who engaged in just one or two sessions of physical activity a week (i.e. weekend warriors) reduced their risk of mortality. Specifically, compared to inactive participants, the hazard ratio for all-cause mortality among insufficiently active participants was 0.66 (95% CI, 0.62-0.82); weekend warriors 0.70 (95% CI, 0.60-0.82); and regularly active 0.65 (95% CI, 0.58-0.73). For CVD mortality, the hazard ratio among insufficiently active participants was 0.60 (95% CI, 0.52-0.69); weekend warriors 0.60 (95% CI, 0.45-0.82); and regularly active participants 0.59 (95% CI, 0.48-0.73). Furthermore, the hazard ratio for cancer mortality among insufficiently active participants was 0.83 (95% CI, 0.73-0.94); weekend warriors 0.82 (95% CI, 0.63-1.06); and regularly active 0.79 (95% CI, 0.66-0.94).

The findings of this study provide insight into the potential protective impact of limited frequency physical activity, as weekend warrior and other infrequent physical activity patterns (1-2 sessions per week) appear to be sufficient to reduce all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality risk. This information is of value to physical activity advocates, who may promote increasing physical activity engagement via more flexible modes and timing of activity.

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine New Online. Access to this article may depend on your Institutional rights: Access the full article.