Weekend Warrior Safety Tips
I guess most people would agree that weekends are just too short! Whether a weekend activity list includes a few tennis games, mountain biking with the kids, yard work or reorganizing the garage, many of us pack in as much as we can- be it fun or chores or both. For everyone who likes to “work hard, play hard”, finding time for physical activity during the week can be difficult. And, packing it all in during those coveted two days can be a double-edged sword for many “weekend warriors”.
The good news is that the scientific literature is clear that physical activity, even if it’s reserved for the weekend, is health-promoting. But the key for the weekend warrior is to have a proactive plan to reduce the risk of injury.
According to a 2017 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, weekend warriors do reduce their risk of chronic illness compared to people who are sedentary. But it’s important to note that weekend warriors who do not exert themselves to the recommended level of 75 minutes of vigorous activity in the two days or 150 minutes of moderate activity in the two days, do not get the same health benefits, which indicates that intensity and quantity are significant.
On the other hand, several studies show that weekend warriors are at an increased risk of injury. Whether the weekend activity includes intense athletic sports or tackling a big DIY project, research clearly indicates that weekend warriors are at increased risk of all kinds of injuries that can be as simple as a sprain or strain or as extreme as a ligament tear or broken bones or worse.
Of course, the best advice is to be physically active throughout the week and not just on the weekends. But sometimes that’s just not easy. Here are some important tips for weekend warriors:
Warm up. Take at least 10 minutes before diving into that big activity to do some gentle stretching. Also, even if daily exercise isn’t in the cards throughout the week, stretching should be.
Be realistic. Taking on too much can be the path to injury. Set goals that make sense based on previous activity level. Don’t aim too high.
Be aware. People who pay attention to their bodies’ signals will be better able to avoid overexertion injuries.
Drink water. Staying well hydrated, especially during an active weekend, is important for overall health but it’s especially important for muscles and joints.
Eat healthy. Warriors who have a healthy diet and maintain normal body weight are less likely to be injured during their active weekend.
Dietary supplements. Daily dietary supplements can support healthy muscles and joints, but they can also help with recovery. Muscular pain and inflammation from occasional overuse can be addressed with proactive use of antioxidants, omega-3s, curcumin, boswellia, systemic enzymes and magnesium.* These key ingredients can be a helpful part of the plan for any weekend warrior!
O’Donovan G, Lee I, Hamer M, et al. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2017;177(3):335-342.
O’Donovan G, Sarmiento OL, Hamer M. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2018;48(8):604-606.
Roberts DJ, Ouellet JF, McBeth PB, et al. Canadian Journal of Surgery. 2014;