Weekend Warriors, Here’s How Not to End Up in Pain

Weekend warriors are people who go all out with physical activity on the weekend, but don’t exercise at all during the week. They may be too busy at work or don’t have extra time due to family responsibilities, but whatever the reason, they are putting themselves at a greater risk of injury. Ankle sprains, torn ligaments or tendons, and shin splints are just some of the injuries common among weekend warriors, especially those out of their 20s.

If you’re a weekend warrior—or your loved one is—read these tips for avoiding pain and injuries.

Warm up on the weekends.

Since you hardly exercise during the week, your body is not ready for the intense increase in stress and movement you do on the weekends. Warming up before the start of your planned activity will help blood start flowing to muscles and ligaments, which helps prevent injury. Light jogging or walking combined with some dynamic stretching help prepare your body for more activity. Skipping or shuffling around the field, doing high knees or targeted drills are more ideas to try.

Choose the right footwear.

Your old worn-out tennis sneakers will not adequately protect your feet. Your shoes or sneakers need to stabilize your feet to help keep the body in alignment and help avoid twists and sprains. An unstable, poorly supported foot can lead to issues with your knees, hips and back. Be sure to have footwear that is designated for the activity you choose and not worn down inside or out. Break in new sneakers by walking around in them at home for a few days before using them on the weekend for your sports league, running club or other activity.

Bring plenty of water with you.

Most people, in general, don’t drink enough water each day. When you add strenuous activity to your routine, you need even more. Stay away from or limit alcohol on Friday and fill up with water instead. Then bring water with you to all your sports and recreational activities on the weekend. You can even bring water-rich fruits like grapes or watermelon slices. Your muscles and body tissues need water to function properly. Even a small loss of water content (from sweating or starting exercise dehydrated) can drastically affect how your body performs, leaving you more susceptible to injury.

Exercise during the week.

You may think you don’t have time to fit in exercise during your workweek, but you could do squats while waiting for your dinner to cook. Do lunges up and down your driveway or jumping jacks on the deck. You can do simple stretching and strengthening exercises at your desk or workstation. It’s easy to sneak in little exercises here and there that help. You don’t need to have 20 or 30 minutes clear for a full exercise routine. Challenge your body consistently in physical ways so that when the weekend comes your body is ready to step up the action.

Know your limits.

Listen to the signals your body sends you. Maybe you had a very busy week and your body feels tired and sluggish when you run out onto the field. That’s a sign you shouldn’t push too hard and should be sure to give your body the nutrients it needs to gain energy back. Playing through pain may be okay for professional athletes, but weekend warriors need to listen to that pain and cut back. Sit out for some of the game and do some light exercises and dynamic stretching to see if the pain goes away. If it doesn’t go away, it’s okay to be a spectator and cheer on your friends for a day. It’s better than losing work time due to injury.

If you overdo it, Goody’s® Back & Body Pain powder can help relieve minor muscle and back pain. If you feel anything more serious is wrong, check in with your doctor.