5 Tips to Prevent Injuries for Weekend Warriors
Updated: Jun 2, 2019
The last thing you need is a nagging injury, right?
The juggling of life events by you, my weekend warrior friend, is pure art.
Your ability to manage the homestead, execute at work, raise children and fur babies, have friends, and still manage to pencil in a workout is remarkable. I’m sure having this physical outlet to alleviate stress helps you keep your composure with such a dense day-to-day itinerary.
Let’s not sabotage this much needed “you time” with pesky injuries. Here are 5 tips to help you fend off physical setbacks:
I know you hear this all too often, “stay hydrated”. Well, I’m here to say it again— Stay Hydrated. Believe it or not, dehydration is the thief of refined athletic performance.
When you’re exercising, your body temperature increases and you sweat to regulate the body’s temperature to avoid overheating (like a car). This production of sweat is maintained by the movement of water at the cellular level. Water is shifted from inside the cells to the extracellular space (outside of the cell) leaving the cell dehydrated. Losing as little as 1-2% of your body weight between pre and post workout increases the cardiovascular demands and decreases exercise capacity. When exercise capacity is compromised, but the workout demands have not been modified— injury can occur. Yikes!
If you only drink when you’re thirsty— you’ve waited too long. Hydrate before, during, and post workout. You can also weigh yourself before and after your workout to assess hydration status and replenish.
With your list of daily tasks, I know adding to that list is not ideal. However, what’s the saying?
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”.
Ok, so maybe it’s not that detrimental, but planning and preparing mentally for the workout can actually help. Mental preparation allows you to review and practice the movements in your mind prior to execution. It has been shown scientifically that visual mental imagery helps refine movement. Giving yourself repetitions of an exercise in your mind can help ensure better technique decreasing your risk of injury.
3. Warm Up
How many times have you arrived at the gym or stepped outside and started running —- as the full workout. No prep work, no priming, no task specific movements, just foot to pavement for 20+ minutes then a few stretches as you walk back to your car/home.
Why warm up? Because you’ll never start your car and push the pedal to the floor. You’re just as delicate. Ease into it. You should prepare both mentally and physically for the workout or competition.
An active warm-up has the potential to benefit performance through temperature and non-temperature related factors. Positive effects include but not limited to: better rate of force production, decreased resistance in muscles and joints, improved blood flow to active muscles, improved reaction time, and better oxygen delivery to muscles. This is everything your body likes and would appreciate to help avoid injuries.
Be sure to add specific movements to your warmup that mimic movements you’ll perform during the workout or competition.
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMs) can be a pain in the rear —- sometimes literally. Being a weekend warrior, I’m sure there are certain days you crank up the intensity. All good until about 24-48 hours later when you’re trying to slide down the stairs or crashing into the commode because your lower body is SCREAMING!
Pushing through this discomfort during the next workout increases the use of movement compensations and increases the risk of injury,
It’s important to give your body a little TLC (tender loving care) so that you’re a bit more functional for the homestead and your next workout.
After your next hard day, recover with cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is simply the application of a cold agent (ice pack, ice massage) or immersion in a cold environment (cold tub, cold shower).
It has been revealed scientifically that cryotherapy decreases the severity of DOMs and the ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) during the following workout. Light and Low impact activity has also been shown to improve DOMs post workout. So, adding a gentle bike ride, light running, yoga, or a swimming session 24 hours after a hard day will improve recovery. This can improve your tolerance for the next workout; thereby, improving your training capacity.
This last tip is to help you with a current injury. I know you have probably been told to rest and things should get better. —-But—- Remember the saying: “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it?” Yeah I like rest, but I like the phrase “less stress” much better. You’ll rest a few days, get back into your workout and probably notice the pain and discomfort is still present.
I encourage all my athletes and warriors to keep moving after an injury in a pain free range. (Unless they’re being seen post surgery) The body will heal in the optimal conditions. Leaping from rest to heavy loads after and injury can keep you in a pain cycle turning an acute injury to a chronic one. Slowly increase the load inching back to your pre injury weight or movement
AND THAT MY FRIEND ------------------ IS FREE GAME!