If you're tight on time during the week and can hit the gym only on Saturdays and Sundays, you form part of the “Weekend Warrior” squad. Picture: Pexels

If you're tight on time during the week and can hit the gym only on Saturdays and Sundays, you form part of the “Weekend Warrior” squad.

While the term “weekend warrior” has always been viewed in a negative light by many as it is associated with laziness and inactivity, but with many juggling demanding careers, family and social life,people are changing their perceptions about the term and many health enthusiasts, who don't have time to exercise during the week, are embracing the idea.

Gabriella Brondani admits that she is a weekend warrior  because she is not a "hardcore" fitness fanatic, or an avid marathon runner. She enjoys doing outdoor activities and leisurely exercises over the weekends with friends. Currently, she is preparing to participate in a trail run that features obstacles-  the Fedhealth IMPI Challenge, which is taking place in Stellenbosch this month.

According to the World Health Organization we need at least 150 minutes a week of physical activity or moderate-intensity aerobic activity, and 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity to stay healthy.

A  2017  study by researchers at Loughborough University in the UK found that people who work out only a couple of times a week have almost the same risk of dying from diseases like cancer and heart disease as those who exercise more regularly. 

The study pooled analysis of population-based surveyswhich included 63 591 adult respondents. 

The study showed that  mortality risk was about 30% lower with active individuals, including weekend worriers  who performed a recommended amount of 150 minutes per week, compared to inactive adults.

Romeo Brand a training instructor from Ignite Fitness Gym says, even though weekend exercise is becoming socially acceptable, he still believes that putting in more activity during the week could be more effective.

“If you are result-driven, exercising during the weekend only is not for you. Results take forever to show if you exercise on weekend only,” says Brand.
But he says that if you are doing it during your spare time and doing it for socialising then it’s a good thing to do.

Brand encourages people to fit 30 minutes of exercise, even it's at home. 

“We all know and understand that we have busy schedules, but let's try and make time to ensure that keep active throughout the week,” he said. 

Top tips from Gabriella Brondan on how to maximise being a weekend warrior:

Pick a sport that you enjoy

If your life is very busy, doing a sport or training regimen that you enjoy is even more important. If you do something you don’t like other things will take preference over exercising. Beyond the more common sports like cycling, running or going to the gym, you could also try something like a zumba or nia dancing class or even a martial arts discipline like karate or kung fu. 

Exercise with others

It’s much more likely that you’ll stick to your commitment to exercise if you do it with someone else. This could be a friend that you run or walk with in your neighbourhood. Enrolling in a team sport like soccer or netball also means you'll be more committed to going to practices or games with your teamates.

Take it slowly

One of the biggest risks to being a weekend warrior is that you'll injure yourself, as you won’t have the same strength and stamina as a regular athlete. For this reason, it's very important to take certain safety precautions. Don’t try and push yourself too hard in the beginning, make sure you stretch before and after your workout and listen to your body while you’re exercising so that you don’t overdo it.  

Look at other areas of your health 

Even if you can only exercise once or twice a week, you can still make improvements to your health in other areas such as adopting a healthy and balanced diet.  Also make sure you drink plenty of water, drink alcohol moderately and get plenty of sleep. 

Try and incorporate exercise into other areas of your life

A good way to fit exercise into your life more easily is to try and combine it with other areas of your life. If you want to spend your weekend with your family, a family hike could get your blood flowing while giving you quality time with them.