To Your Health
July, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 07)
All Hail the Weekend Warrior
Making a Quick Recovery and Preventing Future Injury
By Dr. Marc Heller
Most of us work during the week at sedentary jobs and then try to be weekend warriors. When we're young, we usually can get away with this.
But aging tendons, muscles and joints are not so forgiving. It's easier to strain them and much harder to recover. What can you do? First, find an exercise you can do during the week to get you ready for the weekend.
If your first love is softball and you only have time for it on the weekend, how can you get in shape for the softball game? You could do some warm-ups and brief sprints after work a few times a week. You could lift weights. You could help maintain your flexibility through Pilates, yoga, or a home stretching and toning routine.
Do the Work
Think about what your "weekend warrior" activity involves and try to do something during the week that challenges the same muscles and movements you'll be making on the weekend. The key is consistency. If you're doing something, anything, to stay in shape during the week, you are less likely to get injured and more likely to recover quickly.
I know, you love softball, mountain hikes, kayaking, golf, tennis or whatever, and there's no time during the week for these activities. Find some exercise that allows you to be successful at the activity you love on the weekend. Suck it up and do the work. The weekday workouts might not give you the pleasure of your weekend game, but it will allow you to participate in your weekend passion with much less risk. You'll perform better, and you'll be both stronger and faster. If you want to continue to perform at a reasonably high level in any sport, you have to have the mindset of an athlete. That means training for your sport.
Certain activities get harder as we age. The qualities that make it more difficult are fairly clear. Can you warm up and then get more active, or does the activity require sudden, explosive motions from a total standstill? Are the motions of the sport fairly smooth, or does the sport require sudden jumps and twists? The problem with softball is that you mostly sit or stand around, and then suddenly have to sprint or twist with 100-percent effort. The benefit of hiking is that you can start out slow and gradually go faster once you've warmed up.