You work all week long and at the end of the day there’s no time left for exercise. Many people use the weekend as prime time to hit the gym or go for a long run. If you’re one of those Weekend Warriors, take caution. Jumping into a physically demanding sport you don’t perform on a regular basis can cause injuries if you’re not careful.
Socializing on Saturday and Sunday often means calling some friends for a game of tennis, a round of golf, or a night at the bowling alley. More adventurous types might hike a challenging mountain, go skiing or take up a game of flag football. If you’re in good shape and have a regular workout routine during the week, then extracurricular activities on the weekend won’t shock your body.
However, switching gears from couch potato to quarterback comes with a price. Doctors are seeing more Baby Boomers in the emergency room on weekends or in their office Monday morning with complaints ranging from aching joints to broken bones.
Ouch, That Hurts!
The main culprits are common orthopedic problems: lower back pain, torn ACL, and painful elbows and knees.
- Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow cause swollen tendons.
- Feet are prone to an inflammation called plantar fasciitis from suddenly jumping up and down on the basketball court or pounding the pavement on a long run.
- Hip bursitis is a painful condition that occurs when sudden increase in activity irritates the hip.
Even less physically demanding activities like gardening or walking can cause backaches and sore muscles the next day. Mowing the lawn and shoveling the driveway are great ways to burn calories, but they expose you to possible injury from overdoing it. If you’re not careful, raking the leaves or throwing the football with could mean a trip to the doctor to treat rotator cuff tendonitis. Luckily, most of these injuries will heal with time. But there are ways to prevent them from happening to you.
Weekend Warrior Tips:
- To avoid straining an elbow or pulling a muscle, start slowly.
- Warm your muscles with some light stretching or cardio exercises.
- If you get tired or start to feel pain, stop.
- Use the right muscles– lift and pull with your legs, not your back.
- Shift from one knee to the other, rather than kneeling on both, while working in the garden.
- Strengthen your core muscles (abdominal muscles) to improve your posture.
Incorporate Fitness into Your Week
During the week there are several ways to increase your flexibility and boost your muscle mass. Take a walk around the mall. Play Frisbee with your kids or grandkids. Park far away from the grocery store or bank and use those leg muscles. Lifting light weights during the week can help keep your muscles strong and prevent an injury. If you’ve already been injured and want to avoid further damage, physical therapy is another option to strengthen muscles during guided exercises.
If you have questions about orthopedic care, contact us at St. Petersburg General Hospital. Visit us online or call Consult-a-Nurse® at 727-341-4055 for answers to your questions and free referrals to orthopedists in the St. Petersburg area.