No doubt you do your best to workout regularly. But sometimes life, work, and happy hour get in the way.
Luckily, a new study shows there’s no shame in being a “weekend warrior”—you know, someone who only has time to squeeze in a workout one or two times a week.
Doug Sklar, a certified personal trainer and founder of New York City-based fitness training studio PhilanthroFIT, agrees. “This simply reinforces what many have known and suspected for years—regular physical activity at an appropriate intensity can be beneficial to your long-term health,” he says.
However, Sklar notes that while working out twice a week is sufficient for beginners, it’s really better to try to do more. “For more experienced exercisers, I would recommend three to five times per week,” he says.
Matheny says that regularly exercising is very likely to make you even healthier than those who work out here and there. “How healthy do you want to be?” he says. “Everyone can move for at least 22 minutes every day—that is more than 150 minutes a week.”
However, if you’re strapped for time and know you can only get in one or two workouts in a given week, Sklar recommends full-body strength training paired with high-intensity interval training. “The strength component will help to develop and maintain lean muscle and bone density, while the high-intensity intervals will elevate your heart rate and challenge your cardiovascular system,” he explains.
Matheny says you should have your heart rate elevated for the entire workout, which should also consist of mobility exercises and movement in different planes (i.e. not just moving forward or to one side). That can include a bodyweight warm-up, strength training, intervals, and running or swimming, he says.
While it’s possible to work out hard one or two days a week and meet your weekly fitness requirements, Matheny says it’s really better to be consistent if you can. “You don’t need to go intensely every day, and it would be likely better if you didn’t, but you should absolutely move every day in some form,” he says.