The term “weekend warrior” can mean different things to different people. Some use this term to describe people who spend five days each week burying themselves into their desk jobs or other means of making a living, and then use their free time (often, only the weekends) to catch up on their exercise by engaging in a sport or any physical activity.
For others, weekend warriors are aging baby boomers who attempt to perform rigorous physical activity, believing that they still have the strength, vigor and energy of their younger years.
Both groups of individuals are generally aiming to accomplish the same thing: fit as much physical activity into one or two days each week. And while health experts would prefer to see more people getting in even a little amount of exercise per week (like these weekend warriors do) instead of becoming full-fledged couch potatoes, they warn that such individuals may be setting themselves up for injuries by going about their physical activity in this manner.
The right experts to consult
Physical therapists often receive weekend warriors as patients. This is because the human body is not properly equipped to go from sedentary for most days of the week to extreme athlete in an instant.
As a result, they find weekend warriors coming to them for relief from muscle tears, joint inflammation, and ligament sprains — the most common injuries suffered by this group. There are also severe cases wherein patients will need surgery to repair injured tissues.
Effective physical therapy or PT programs can help the body regain, restore and improve movement, strength, flexibility, range of motion, and complete function of the injured area.
Prevention is key
To steer clear of these injuries in the first place, specialists from PT NYC clinics offer the following pieces of advice for the weekend warrior:
- The weekend shouldn’t be the only scheduled time for physical activity. While they may be dubbed weekend warriors, there’s no reason to play a sport, go for a run, try an extreme activity, or perform any other physical exercise solely on Saturdays and Sundays. If there truly are only two days per week that can be allotted for this, physical therapists advise people to split the two days apart — go work out on Wednesdays and Saturdays, or Thursdays and Sundays, for example.
- Don’t skip warming up and cooling down. Professional athletes and lifelong fitness buffs don’t dive into their activities without training and preparation, and neither should weekend warriors. Remember to spend around 10 minutes easing your body into your chosen activity, and cooling down when you’re done.
- Invest in the right gear and clothing. Even if you only spend two days a week working out, you still need to use the right equipment so you can perform well, feel comfortable, and avoid making movements that can cause injuries.
- Be realistic about your abilities. You won’t be in equal form as the guy in your office who works out six days a week, so don’t expect to be able to perform the same athletic feats. Work out hard, but avoid pushing yourself beyond your physical limits.
- Considering working your activity into more days each week. You can try evolving from a weekend warrior into a person who exercises three to four days a week — by gradually increasing your level of activity, you can get your body and health into much better shape for the long term.