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Ask the Doc: Weekend workouts

Bryn Mawr Hospital September 21, 2020 General Wellness

Ask the Doc: It’s hard for me to fit workouts in during the week. Is it OK to only exercise on the weekend?

For most people, finding time to exercise every day is already difficult. But factor in a pandemic that has turned your home into an office, school, restaurant, and entertainment center and exercise becomes even more of a chore. 

Guidance on the amount of exercise you should be getting hasn’t changed much over the past few years. Everyone should aim to get 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous (high-intensity) exercise per week. Ideally, you’d be able to spread this activity out over the course of several days. But what if you can’t? What if Saturday and Sunday are the only days you can manage to squeeze in a workout?

“Working out twice a week is better than not working out at all,” says Tarun Mathur, MD, FACC, a cardiologist at Bryn Mawr Hospital, part of Main Line Health. “If, for example, you can fit in two-hour long workouts on the weekend, you’re close to meeting your exercise goal for the week.”

Dr. Mathur reminds weekend warriors that exercise recommendations call for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week—that means your workout should at least cause you to break a sweat or your heart rate to increase. 

A 30-minute gentle yoga class can help you de-stress, but if it’s one of only a few workouts each week, it won’t be as impactful as, say, 30 minutes of spinning or HIIT. If you can only squeeze in a workout or two each week, make them count—consider trying a new workout, running or walking on a course with more hills, or gradually increasing weight or reps during your strength routine.

It’s also important to stay committed. “If weekends really are the only time you have for exercise, then commit to it. Block time in your day specifically for exercise and make it a priority. Once we allow ourselves a break from working out, it’s hard to go back,” says Dr. Mathur.

Main Line Health serves patients at hospitals and health centers throughout the western suburbs of Philadelphia. To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.