If you engage in strenuous physical activities during the weekend, you’re commonly known as a weekend warrior.
The danger with this designation? You often overexert yourself and could be at risk of injury.
Long periods of intense physical activity on weekends are physically demanding. If you’re not well conditioned, you could put yourself at increased risk of injury.
Whether you’re getting ready for your softball league, water skiing, hiking, or getting ready for yard work and home renovation projects, here are some tips on how to stay healthy and active all summer long:
- If it has been a while since you have been active, you want to begin slow and gradually increase your activity so you don’t cause unnecessary injuries and sideline yourself. You’ll want to make sure to address your flexibility, strength, and aerobic capacity (endurance).
- Try to cross-train by doing various types of exercise during the week (i.e.: jogging, biking, yoga, tai chi, basic push-ups and sit-ups, etc.). By not working the same muscle groups, you improve your chances of preventing injuries. This can also help balance your strength, flexibility, and aerobic conditioning.
- Warm up before and cool down. Remember that cold muscles don’t like being called into action suddenly and are more likely to be pulled or torn. A basic warm-up should be five to 10 minutes of walking or light jogging. Follow that with some stretching to loosen up your wrists, shoulders, knees, hips, and your back. At the end of the sport or activity, cool down gradually to bring your heart rate back to normal. This can include stretching to prevent muscle soreness.
- Make sure you are using proper technique. Not only will your performance probably be better but proper technique will decrease your risk of injury.
- Wear the right gear and use proper tools. Wear the proper shoes for your activity and use the proper tools or sports equipment. Check to make sure that you don’t need to replace tools or shoes. One tell tale sign that you need new running shoes is if the treads, especially on the soles, are worn out. The soles last longer than the shoe’s cushioning and shock absorbency, so if the soles are worn down, it’s definitely time for new ones.
- Take breaks and hydrate. Listen to your body. Don’t let your ego get in the way from resting and keeping your body safe.
- If you do get injured, take the time to take care of yourself. You can treat most injuries with RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). If you don’t let your injuries heal, you are likely to make the injury worse and more likely to cause injury to other body parts.
Hopefully these tips will help keep you active, enjoying movement, and have game.
If you do get an injury or have problems that don’t resolve, remember the Family Medicine and the Orthopedic Medicine Clinics of Sweetwater Memorial, along with the Physical Therapy Team at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County can help get you to the other side of those injuries and get you back to doing what you do best. For all we have to offer, go to sweetwatermemorial.com.
Good Luck and Have FUN!!!
Deborah DeFauw, PT, MPT, CLT, is Director of Rehabilitation Services at Memorial Hospital of