Between work, family commitments, and running errands, it’s understandable why weekend warriors cram all their physical activity on Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately, this pattern of 5 days of inactivity, and being active on the weekend often leads to injury.
The most common types of injuries seen in weekend warriors are:
Muscle strains such as hamstring strains
Ligament sprains, most commonly in the ankle
Tendonitis, especially in the Achilles
Low back pain
To decrease your chances of injury, there are some things you can do. The biggest step you can take is to avoid going from no activity to full out competition. Try to maintain a basic level of fitness through general aerobic activity, strengthening, and stretching throughout the week. If you know what type of sport you’ll be participating in, adding in some sport-specific conditioning is a good idea.
In addition to maintaining a basic level of fitness, here are a few other tips specifically for the weekend warrior:
Build your activity level slowly If you’ve taken a layoff over the winter, build up slowly to your first 5k, or the spring softball season
Give yourself time for a proper warm up A dynamic warm up is best, including some jogging or other aerobic activity to get your heart rate up, along with some high knees, braiding, butt kicks, or toy soldiers will get your body ready for activity
Stretch when you’re done Research has shown that static stretching before activity probably doesn’t have much benefit, but stretching after has been shown to reduce soreness and help recovery
Make sure your technique and equipment are up to par Poor equipment can put you at higher risk for injury. If your technique is off, especially in sports like golf or tennis, you can be at higher risk for injury. A visit with a physical therapist or coach can help correct issues.
Don’t push through pain Some soreness after an increase in activity is normal, but if it doesn’t go away, gets worse, or is severe, get it checked out.
If you’re having pain, suffered an injury, want help designing a training program to get you ready to compete, or just want a physical to make sure you’re ready for activity, a visit with a physical therapist is a good idea.