Do you find work commitments and a packed social calendar mean you have no time to exercise in the week?

If that means you tend to squeeze the bulk of your workouts into the weekends, that’s not necessarily cause for alarm.

A new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who fit in one or two workouts at weekends enjoy pretty much the same life-extending benefits as those who train regularly (with three or more sessions) during the week.

The research found that those who have no time to exercise mid-week can experience the ‘same benefit’ as people who spread their fitness across seven days. (As long as you get 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, per week.)

The study backs up previous research by Loughborough University and the University of Sydney. This tracked the weekday and weekend physical activity of 63,591 adults from England and Scotland over a 12-year period.

People who fit in 1-2 workouts at weekends enjoy the same benefits as those who train regularly.

That particular study also found that weekend workouts, such as a long 150-minute hike, offered the same benefits as regular weekday chunks of activity. This includes habitual 30-minute lunchtime walks, for example.

This new line of research has mostly been focused on the all-important issues of physical health and longevity. So, it doesn’t account for other key issues – such as sleep quality, injury risk or mental health. You can enhance all of these with regular doses of exercise during the working week.

And it’s best to complete vigorous activities in shorter, sharper bursts. Then, follow these with recovery days. Clearly, that kind of routine is easier to follow when you spread your training out throughout the week.

However, if you get to the weekend and still haven’t done any training, don’t panic.

By getting out for a weekend run or bike ride, you will still unlock powerful long-term health benefits.