Weekend Warrior? If you’re one of the many people who spend eight to 11 hours a day (or more!) at work, and then try to find one day a week to work out, you may want to rethink your strategy.
With the start of warmer weather, a lot of people are also starting vigorous workout journeys — training for a 5k, hundred-mile bike rides, and intense hikes. While these journeys are good, and will ultimately make you healthier, it’s best to go at them with a measured approach. As an article from PhysOrg.com points out, being a ‘weekend warrior’ can do more harm than good.
“But exercising vigorously only once a week or less increases your risk of an injury,” explains Jeffrey Spang, MD, an assistant professor of orthopedics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. “Weekend-warrior injuries can hit men and women, both young and old. But they’re most common among formerly active people over age 30 whose work and family obligations prevent weekday exercise.”
“The most common injury is muscle strain…But [Spang] regularly treats weekend warriors with chronic tendonitis and, more seriously, ruptures of the achilles tendon, which require prompt medical attention.”
While working out on the weekend is better than not working out at all, Spang and others suggest that you start slowly, building up to vigorous workouts only after you’ve warmed up and stretched. For instance, don’t go for deep stretches unless you’ve walked or jogged a little to loosen everything up, and don’t try for a five-mile run until you’ve given your body a few weeks to get used to covering that kind of distance.
This may seem like simple advice, but the most annoying thing in the world is to watch your fitness goals get derailed by a pulled muscle or other injury that could easily have been avoided.
Before you set out to change your body in big ways, write an exercise plan that includes all the steps you’ll take to get there. Once you’ve got your plan mapped out, you can start gaining the right kind of momentum!