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High earners more prone to intense weekend exercise, study finds

People on higher salaries tend to exercise during the weekend and on their days off, living sedentary lifestyles in the week, a US study has concluded.

American Cancer Society researchers compared the income of 5,206 adults who had their physical activity tracked using accelerometers over one week. Previous research, which has linked affluence with a likelihood of higher levels of exercise, has mainly relied on individuals to report their own exercise habits.

This latest study, which was published in Preventative Medicine, found that compared to those making less than US$20,000 (€16,781, £15,326) per year, people with an annual income of US$75,000 (€62,927, £57,472) or more, on average, engaged in 4.6 more minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise every day.

They were also 1.6 times more likely to carry out 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of strenuous activity across two days, and were 1.9 times more likely to meet the guidelines during a seven-day period.

However, high earning individuals engaged in 9.3 fewer minutes of light intensity activity each day and spent 11.8 more minutes sedentary.

The findings show that those on higher salaries are more likely to be “weekend warriors”, getting most of their activity on only a few days a week and spending lots of time in the week being inactive, such as sitting at a desk for long periods.

“Our findings pertaining to income and the ‘weekend warrior’ effect underscore the importance of tailoring the physical activity message to reflect the constraints of both low and high income individuals,” said lead author Dr Kerem Shuval.

“To meet guidelines one can engage in 150 minutes of weekly moderate intensity activity over a two or three-day period rather than seven days, for example. This can be achieved over a long weekend, a message we may want to convey to those pressed for time. It is important to remember, however, that we should increase the duration and intensity of activity gradually to avoid injury.”

For more on the research click here

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