If that Saturday morning bike ride or run left you limping into work on Monday sore and exhausted, you’re probably not alone. Welcome to the ranks of the “Weekend Warriors.”
“Weekend Warriors” is the name given to people who are physically inactive most of the week, but then participate in rigorous physical activity during the weekend.
Many times these folks overestimate their abilities and push themselves beyond what they reasonably should do. Many may have had active lifestyles previously, but because of work and family commitments, their exercise time has diminished – especially during the week. So, they think they can make up for it on the weekend. But, the saying’s true – if you don’t use it, you lose it. And by not maintaining some sort of regular physical activity during the week, they put themselves at risk of injuries when they try to do too much on weekends.
A study through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 80 percent of adult Americans don’t get the recommended amount of aerobic and muscle-toning exercises every week. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that injuries happen to weekend warriors. Some of the more common injuries include sprained ankles, rotator cuff injuries, elbow, lower back or knee pain.
By not participating in regular physical endeavors during the week, even casual activities such as painting, cleaning or gardening can lead to sore muscles and injuries.
But the good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. You can avoid Weekend Warrior syndrome by incorporating more physical activity into your lifestyle on a daily basis. The following are tips for even the most time-crunched of individuals:
Realize that exercise doesn’t have to be “all or nothing.” Look for ways to sneak extra movement into your day. Set your watch alarm to go off a few times a day to remind you to stretch and go for a walk around the office. Walk to lunch rather than drive. While you’re waiting for your child at soccer practice, take a stroll around the field. When watching television, stand up and march in place during commercials. Or, even better, shut the TV off and complete a household chore or go for a walk around the block. And how about when your children are playing? Join them.
Increase activity gradually. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week. Break this into smaller goals for yourself so you can attain it. Look critically at your daily schedule and see where you have pockets of time that you can use for physical activity. If three 10-minute sessions are easier for you to accomplish, then do it. You will still reap the benefits.
Don’t worry about the “best” time of day to exercise. Whatever time is convenient for you is the best time.
Start at a lower intensity. While you are incorporating additional activity into your lifestyle, be sure to begin at lower intensities and increase as you are able. For example, choose a walking or jogging pace where you can still talk comfortably while getting your heart rate up. Or, during strength training, begin lifting smaller weights and work your way to heavier ones.
Choose sports and activities that you find fun and enjoyable. Soon, you’ll be looking forward to these well-deserved “me” times.
With any sport or exercise, always learn and use proper techniques. Follow safety guidelines as well.
Put your workouts into your calendar as appointments. Be sure to keep them.
Keep yourself motivated by setting realistic short and long-term goals. And reward yourself when you hit them. Download a new song on your iPod, treat yourself to a movie you want to see or buy that new book you want to read.
Wear comfortable shoes every day that allow you to move about easily no matter where you are or what you’re doing…and then move! QCBN
By Patrick Mahaney, M.D.
Hear Dr. Mahaney’s presentation on “Hip Pain and Rehabilitation,” 2-3 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19,at Mountain Valley Regional Rehabilitation Hospital.
Dr. Patrick Mahaney, M.D., is the assistant medical director for Mountain Valley Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, a 44-bed, free-standing facility providing intensive physical rehabilitation services to patients recovering from strokes, head and spinal cord injuries, and other impairments as a result of injury or illness. For more information, visit MVRRH.ernesthealth.com
3700 N. Windsong Drive • Prescott Valley, AZ • (P) 928-759-8800 (F) 866-759-8806 • www.MVRRH.ernesthealth.com