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The Weekend Warrior: Dispelling Old Myths

Weekdays are always a mad dash. You run out the door in the nick of time, do the school drop off, head to work, slide into your chair and kiss the desk. You work all day and run out in time for afternoon car pool. After a jam-packed evening, which – who needs me to elaborate? -you fall into bed, sleep, wake up and repeat.

Weekday exercise? “Yes, I exercise”, you say. “I run around like a chicken with my head cut off.” Ah, but the weekend gives you enough breathing room to play pick-up basketball, or go on a The Weekend Warrior: Dispelling Old Mythsmountain bike ride and you feel good about that. And you should.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week and you never miss.

Imagine if your dentist told you to brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day and instead, you brushed for 14 minutes on Saturday and 14 minutes on Sunday. Still 28 minutes. All good, right?

Being a weekend warrior might sound almost as crazy as only brushing your teeth on weekends, but we have good news. Keep it up!

The Weekend Warrior: Dispelling Old Myths

Mortality rates for weekend warriors, while not as favorable as for more regular exercisers, are much lower than for couch potatoes. Weekend warriors generally participate in higher intensity exercise, which has added benefit over the same amount of a moderate-intensity workout. Two bouts of high intensity exercise a week is enough to maintain aerobic fitness. *

Your heart will thank you, but how about the rest of your body?

More good news! Weekend warriors might struggle with injuries like a hamstring strain, an ankle sprain, Achilles tendonosis, or plantar fasciitis, but there’s no evidence that it happens more for weekend athletes.

If weekdays are impossible, and you only have the weekend for a workout, you now have zero excuses to sit this out. Some people might hesitate because of all the bad press about injuries for weekend athletes. But we are telling you, no studies have demonstrated there is any reason to hold back. Your heart will be healthier and you can move with impunity. Oh, and it’s fun!

The Weekend Warrior: Dispelling Old Myths

That said, we all have injuries from time to time, and there are things you can do to minimize risk.

Tips to decrease your chances of injury:

  • Give yourself time for a proper warm up: A dynamic warm up is best, including some jogging or speed walking to get your heart rate up, along with some high knees, braiding, butt kicks, or toy soldiers to get your muscles primed for action.
  • Make sure your equipment is up to par: Poor equipment can put you at higher risk for injury. Are your shoes in good shape? Have you had a bike fit? These things matter, so neglect old equipment at your own peril.
  • Have your technique evaluated: If your technique is off, especially in sports like golf, tennis, or baseball, you are at higher risk for injury. A visit with a physical therapist The Weekend Warrior: Dispelling Old Mythsor coach can help correct issues.
  • Don’t push through pain: Some soreness after activity is normal, but if it doesn’t go away, gets worse, or is severe; make an appointment to see one of our therapists.

No excuses!

If you’re still nervous about getting started, come see us. We can design a training program to get you ready to compete, or do a PT physical to make sure you’re ready for activity. Consider a Selective Functional Movement Assessment to tease out areas of tightness or weakness that set you up for injury. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has never been truer.

Exercise decreases stress and creates a more positive outlook on life. So if the weekend is all you have, go for it! We’ll be here if you need us.

And do brush your teeth before you come… The Weekend Warrior: Dispelling Old Myths

*(JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(3):335-342)

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