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The ‘weekend warrior’ physical activity pattern: how little is enough?
  1. Mark Hamer1,
  2. Gary O’Donovan1,
  3. I-Min Lee2,
  4. Emmanuel Stamatakis3
  1. 1 School Sport Exercise and Health Sciences, National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
  2. 2 Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3 Charles Perkins Centre, Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Emmanuel Stamatakis, Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, D17 Level 6, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia ; emmanuel.stamatakis{at}

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The dose–response relationship between physical activity and health is of great interest to policy makers, clinicians and individuals. Several recent analyses of large-scale population data have advanced our understanding, particularly in teasing apart minimal and optimal physical activity dosage. For example, if we focus on ‘minimal’ dose, 15 min a day of moderate-intensity exercise lowered mortality in a sample of more than 400 000 adults from Taiwan.1 A recent meta-analysis of nine cohort studies revealed that undertaking some moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) but less than the guidelines was associated with 22% reduction in mortality risk in older adults.2 For those fortunate to be able to be performing the ‘optimal’ levels of physical activity, an analysis of more than 600 000 adults of all ages from the USA and Europe showed that a nearly optimal threshold for longevity occurred at three to five times the physical activity recommendation (39% reduction in all-cause mortality). Note that the additional benefit over and above doses corresponding to one to two multiples of the physical activity guideline (31% reduction in all-cause mortality) was rather modest in general.3

The ‘weekend warrior’ physical activity pattern—good for health!

In a new study4 using a …

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  • Funding ES is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council through a Senior Research Fellowship. The dataset acquisition and harmonisation was funded by a National Institute for Health Research (UK) grant to ES.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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