Weekend warriors aren’t indestructible: Here’s how to protect yourself during your favorite activities

Weekend warriors aren’t indestructible: Here’s how to protect yourself during your favorite activities

That first weekend when the weather changes – the humidity drops, the temperature takes a tiny dip, the cloudless sky is a bright almost-fall blue – transforms athletes everywhere into “weekend warriors.” And while that phrase may sound like a superhero designation, the fact is that weekend warriors may be more susceptible to injuries than their more consistent counterparts.

Consistency is Key
Though your body craves activity, it responds best to a slow progression in activity level. Jumping from a sedentary week to an active weekend can lead to “weekend warrior” injuries without proper care and planning.
To take advantage of active weekends without injury, you’ll need to take into consideration three things: intensity, duration and frequency. The goal is to increase only one at a time.
For example, if you want to prepare for a weekend sporting event by increasing from three to four 30-minute workouts per week, you will want to keep your intensity and your routine the same. If you want to increase from 30-minute workouts to 45 minutes, don’t add additional days during the week (frequency) or increase the intensity of your routine. Lastly, if you want to increase your intensity, stick with your current frequency and duration routine.
By adding several workouts during the week, you can help your muscles adapt to the demands of your weekend workouts. Here are a few tips:.
● Start slowly. Gradually increasing the intensity and length of workouts is the best way to reduce your risk of injury. Starting out with shorter duration of activity or less intense workouts can help decrease the risk of injury.
● Warm up before you jump into intense activity. A warmup walk before a run or a dynamic stretch moving joints through the range needed for the activity can help decrease the chance of injury.
● Stretch before and after your workout. A dynamic stretch of the muscles that will be used during the activity is recommended prior to workouts, particularly stretches that mirror movements that will be part of the later workout activity.
● Use proper technique and equipment. Make sure your gear – including your shoes – is in good condition. Proper fit and good quality can make all the difference.
● Don’t push through pain. While muscle soreness is normal after an intense workout, sharp pain during a workout is not. Pain can be a sign that injury is occurring and an indication to stop.
Even with proper precautions, weekend warriors may find themselves facing many of the same injuries other part-time athletes face. Watch for signs of injuries like these, and seek treatment immediately to prevent further potential damage:
● Muscle strains, such as hamstring injuries
● Ligament sprains, such as ankle sprains
● Tendinitis, including Achilles (ankle) or patellar (knee) tendinitis
● Shin splints
● Shoulder injuries, specifically rotator cuff injuries
● Low back pain
If you’re already experiencing some of the aftereffects of your weekend efforts – or if you’re thinking of starting or increasing your exercise routine – now might be a good time to see a specialist, like the physicians at DOC Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine. Since 1972, our specialists have been committed to providing exceptional orthopaedic care through innovative techniques, quality services, patient communication, and education. With specialties ranging from general orthopaedics and physical therapy to sports medicine, joint replacement, and more, the doctors at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can provide local expert guidance to avoid injury, as well as the necessary care for any orthopaedic disorder or injury to help you enjoy active, pain-free weekend activity.

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