Between work, family, and other obligations, many people make sure they can fit their favorite sport or activity on the weekends.
As helpful as it can be for a schedule, there is one major drawback - an increased risk of injury. Being heavily active for two days followed by five days of low or no activity leads to pain, soreness, and injuries. If you're a weekend warrior, you'll want to hear our tips on how to prevent injuries and avoid pain.
Most Common Injuries for Weekend Warriors
Muscle strains, especially in hamstrings
Ligament sprains, most commonly in the ankle
Tendinitis, especially in the Achilles
Low back pain
Gradually Build Your Activity Level
One of the most important tips to remember is to avoid going from inactivity to full-exertion in a short amount of time. 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 can help you stay ready for your next game. This is especially important for those who are returning to a sport after a long period of rest or inactivity. Don't try to push yourself too far because an injury can potentially keep you out of the game until next season.
Prioritize a Good 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. If it feels better in your body, you can try static warmups as well. Overall, taking the time for a warmup is important because it improves mobility and helps to maintain stability during exercise. The most important thing is that you're listening to your body and warming up to reduce the risk of injury and soreness.
Stretch After Exercise
Stretching after activity can reduce soreness and help with muscle recovery. When you have a limited amount of time, it can be easy to want to get as much of a workout as possible before you have to get to your next activity. However, taking the time to stretch once you're done with your activity will help to reduce the lactic acid that leads to sore and uncomfortable muscles later on. Consistent stretching also increases your range of motion and decreases the strain on your muscles and joints.
Optimize Equipment & Techniques
Poor equipment can put you at higher risk for injury. Choosing the right pair of sneakers can make a big difference in how your body feels after your activity. Make sure you replace your shoes when the soles feel flat and rotate out two pairs of shoes if that is accessible for you. 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 athletic trainer can help to correct any issues with mechanics that could lead to injuries down the line.
Don't Push Through The Pain
Some soreness after an increase in activity is normal, but if it doesn’t go away or intensifies, make an appointment with a physical therapist right away. Many times an injury or condition can worsen over time, so time is of the essence when you begin to notice recurring pain. The treatment process could be lengthier and more intensive the longer you wait, so visiting a physical therapist upon the onset of pain is your best option for a shorter recovery time.
Physical Therapy for Weekend Warriors
If you’re having pain, sustained an injury, or want help designing a training program to get you ready to compete, a visit with a physical therapist can always be your first step to getting back out there. Contact Performance Physical Therapy at 401.726.7100 to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist at any of our locations in Rhode Island or Southeastern Massachusetts.