Risk for Back Injuries High Among Weekend Warriors
Work. Kids. Errands. Streaming just one more episode of your latest favorite show. Those are just a few of the things that might prevent you from exercising regularly during a typical work week. If you’re like a lot of other people, you may transform into a weekend warrior on Saturday and Sunday to try to make up for not exercising Monday through Friday.
Even if you only exercise on the weekends, it’s better than not working out at all. Although there is a link between sporadic exercise and a longer life expectancy, occasional workouts are affiliated with something else. And that something else is a greater risk of injury.
Why are weekend warriors more susceptible to injury? It might be that a weekend warrior simply tries to do too much in an abbreviated time frame. It may also be that weekend warriors lack adequate experience in their chosen activities. Of course, it may be a combination of those factors and others as well.
Common Injuries Weekend Warriors Experience
Regardless of why weekend warriors are more vulnerable to injuries, sporadic exercise that involves activities you don’t do on a regular basis can lead to a trip to the nearest urgent care or emergency room. Here are some common injuries weekend warriors are often treated for:
- Muscle strains like a strained hamstring
- Ligament sprains, such as a sprained ankle
- Shin splints
- Shoulder injuries, such as a sprain, strain or dislocation
- Groin pulls
- ACL tears
- Lower back pain
Unfortunately, back injuries occur too often in people who only have time to work out on the weekend. Contorting your body into an unusual position, lifting heavy objects, picking up something awkwardly, using the wrong equipment or performing a new exercise are just a few ways that weekend warriors can injure their back.
Tips to Help Weekend Warriors Avoid Injuries
Even though a weekend warrior has an increased risk for injury, the tradeoff of living a longer life certainly makes working out on the weekend worthwhile. While that’s the case, it doesn’t mean you have to absorb the risk of injury because there are a few things you can do to actively combat it.
One of the smartest things you can do to minimize the chance that you’ll suffer an injury that leads to lower back pain or another kind of ache is to squeeze in some exercise one or two days during the work week. Your muscles and soft tissues need to be conditioned gradually and working out an extra day or two will help get them into shape.
Here are a few other things you can do to avoid suffering an injury if you’re a weekend warrior:
- Increase Intensity and Length of Workouts Over Time: Just like you’d build up your stamina over time if you were training for a marathon, you should do the same with your weekend workouts. Rather than diving right in, take things slower and increase the intensity of your workouts and the length of time you spend working out over time.
- Warm Up: Before you engage in an exercise at full throttle, warm up with 10 minutes of moderate exercise.
- Stretch: One of the best back injury prevention tips you’ll get is to stretch before and after your workouts. While some people doubt the benefits of stretching before a workout, there are clear benefits to post-workout stretching, which include decreased soreness and your muscles returning to their usual state.
- Listen to Your Body: While being mildly sore after a workout is normal, sudden or piercing pain or discomfort that gets progressively worse isn’t. If you experience moderate or severe pain during or after a workout, you should see your doctor.
Work With a Back Specialist
Whether you’re a weekend warrior, professional athlete or couch potato, you should make an appointment with Branko PRPA M.D. whenever you experience back pain for any reason. Serving Kenosha, Milwaukee and nearby areas, Dr. Prpa is Wisconsin’s leading back specialist. If you’re suffering from back pain, make an appointment with Branko PRPA M.D. Spine Surgery today.