It’s important to be physically active, and avoid injuries at the same time. This is especially important for a ‘weekend warrior’. If you are sedentary, it’s extremely important to plan ahead in order to avoid exercise-related injuries. After all, the human body cannot go from ‘inactive’ mode to ‘weekend warrior’ mode in an instant.
Exercise intensity must be progressive; otherwise the risk for injury increases. After all, professional athletes prepare for months (sometimes years) to reach a certain level of physical performance. Athletes prepare their bodies for months during the off-season, as they prepare their body for an intense season. Weekend warriors tend to bypass ‘preparation’ and jump right into intense activity.
Common injuries include joint inflammation, muscle tears, and ligament sprains. Most injuries can be treated with physical therapy after the acute symptoms have subsided. In severe cases, surgery might be needed.
Weekend Warriors – Do’s and Dont’s
It’s important for weekend warriors to be realistic. For starters, don’t expect your body to adapt right away to intense activities. If you have been inactive all week long, your body will not be prepared for physical challenges over the weekend. Make sure you have protective gear, and stay hydrated.
Warm up and Cool Down
A warm up is a simple, yet neglected way to avoid injuries. Eight to ten minutes of walking or light jogging, combined with some light stretching is a great way to prepare your body for progressive exercise intensity and minimize injuries.
When you’re finished with your activity, do not come to a sudden stop. Give your muscles a chance to recover by reducing your intensity, but keep moving. For example, if you have been running, don’t come to a stop. Walk for the last few minutes. A cool down period helps restore blood circulation and reduce injuries.
Being realistic and planning ahead is important. For best results, get some regular exercise every day. This allows your body to adapt and prepare for your favorite weekend activities.
Jeff Booher is a regular contributor for InjuReplay and owner of Peak Physical Therapy and Sports Performance located in Lincoln, Nebraska. Learn more about Jeff and his sports medicine background HERE.