No time bro? It is possible to be healthy by training only once a week – 09/30/2020


According to WHO (World Health Organization), we should practice at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week to keep the body healthy and reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure. And, until a few years ago, the guideline is that this training time should be divided into at least three to five weekly workouts of at least 30 minutes.

But who can not train so many days of the week, due to lack of time or willingness? Will it have health benefits if you meet, for example, this time goal only on Saturday and / or Sunday? The answer is yes. The WHO recommendation has changed and there is no longer a minimum number of days per week or hours for training to reap health benefits – since you will hardly have results in strength gains, hypertrophy and performance without regular and well-planned training.

A study published in Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), for example, evaluated more than 63,000 people over 10 years and concluded that practicing 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, even if only in one day, reduces the risk of early death by 30%, by 40 % the incidence of heart disease and 18% the possibility of death from cancer, when compared to someone sedentary.

Risk of pain and injury

Among the moderate activities, we can mention walking, cycling, swimming, weight training. Among the vigorous exercises are running, climbing stairs, playing football or other ball sports, martial arts, dances etc. Obviously, for a person who is sedentary all week, it is not easy to be able to practice these sports in just one day for 150 minutes or 75 minutes.

“Our physical conditioning evolves as we do regular training. So, if you exercise on Saturday and only return to practice the other Saturday, your body loses its preparation”, explains the physical education professional José Carlos Fernandes, Professor Zeca, director of sports consultancy ZTrack.

And, when you train a long time without adequate physical preparation, you tend to suffer a lot to complete the exercises, you usually feel a lot of pain and fatigue in the days after the activity and you have a higher risk of injury. So, even if a single weekly workout is beneficial to your health and much better than doing nothing, it shouldn’t be a permanent solution. The ideal is, whenever possible, try to organize the routine to exercise more days of the week.

Stay active on a daily basis

Another good news for those who haven’t been able to go to the gym for several days is that within the 150 minutes a week needed to be healthy, not just training. According to the WHO, any day-to-day movement counts, such as climbing stairs, walking the block with the dog, walking to the Metro to go to work or go shopping, etc.

Therefore, if you are unable to train during the week and intend to fulfill your quota of exercises at the weekend, try to move as much as possible. Thus, you will make a small “saving” and may reduce the amount of physical exercise necessary to be healthy a little.

“Several studies show the benefits of staying active throughout the day – and the risk of being inactive, sitting for hours, even for those who train most often on a weekly basis”, warns Mario Sérgio Silva, physical education professional and technical director at RunFun . “Every sitting time, at least try to get up and take about 200 steps, or stand for about 5 to 10 minutes. Another goal that can be thought of is, using a cell phone app, counting how many steps you take throughout the day and trying to keep that number between 7,000 and 10,000. “

Exercise Guide

Let’s assume that you practically don’t move during the week and can only train on Saturdays: on that day, the ideal is that the set of activities you choose should be close to the recommended 150 minutes. A good alternative for those who do not want to spend hours exercising is to split up activities throughout the day. Example:

  • 1 hour walk in the morning
  • 30 minutes of yoga or swimming after the walk
  • 30 minutes of resistance exercises (weight training, functional) in the afternoon.
  • 30 minutes of tennis or biking after resistance training.

Now, if he chooses to do the 150 minutes at once, Silva explains that an excellent option to compensate for the lack of cardiovascular conditioning is to combine aerobic activities with resistance exercises with the weight of the body. Example:

  • Walk for 30 minutes
  • Do 5 sets of 1 minute squat, with 1 minute interval between sets
  • Do 5 sets of 1-minute sit-ups, with a 1-minute break between sets
  • Do 5 sets of 1-minute push-ups, with a 1-minute interval between sets
  • Do 5 sets of 1 minute of fixed bar or backstroke, with 1 minute interval between sets
  • Repeat the entire sequence until you have completed 150 minutes of activity.

Remember that before starting any physical activity, it is very important to consult with a doctor and do tests to see if you are able to train. In addition, the ideal is that the training is guided by a physical education professional, who will adapt the exercise routine according to your physical conditioning, routine and objectives, helping to improve the results and prevent injuries.


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