We all like to stay active and healthy as we age. The problem is that other obligations often get in the way of regular physical activity, so we are relegated to being sedentary during the work week, and active on weekends — a recipe for disaster. Here are some tips to avoid injury if you’re a “weekend warrior”.
Warm up, cool down.
Warmed muscles and tendons are ready for activity, more elastic, and are less susceptible to injury. Warm up and cool down should become part of every workout.
People often skip stretching altogether, or sometimes overstretch. Routine light stretching helps warm muscles up and increases range of motion. Any questions on how to do so we are here to help. A physical therapist can show you an excellent stretching/warm up routine.
Try to stay active throughout the week; don’t “shock” your body on weekends.
To eliminate muscle shock, introduce even small amounts (5-10 minute walk at lunchtime) of physical activity throughout the week. This is one of the most important tips.
Rest and listen to your body.
Consecutive days of activity often cause injuries. While many athletes think the more they train, the better they’ll play, the truth is, a tired body is more susceptible to muscle strain and other injuries. Consistent pains and strains over time can be a sign of underlying tissue injury and if left unchecked can turn into a more serious injury. Make sure you allow time for recovery, especially if sore!
Pay attention to new aches and pains and don’t workout if something hurts. This is common sense advice but many weekend athletes do not follow this simple rule, and injuries worsen while ignored. Get new aches and pains check early, before they become worse.
A 3-5% loss of body water content can affect your physical abilities dramatically.
Dehydration starts before you’re working out, as some of us aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day. That means it’s likely you’re already at a disadvantage when you begin your athletics at night or on the weekend.
Bring water or an electrolyte drink to your sporting event, but also drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Once you feel parched, you’re already dehydrated. AVOID sugary sports drinks, as they’re a source of hidden calories and are probably harmful unless you’re an extreme endurance athlete.
Strengthening muscles also strengthens tendons, ligaments and joints. 1-2x/week weight workouts decreases risk of sprains, strains, muscle tears, and tendon ruptures. Use light weights and higher repetitions and avoid extreme positions.