With so much to cram into a work week, it’s no surprise that a significant number of people choose to save their most strenuous physical activity for Saturdays and Sundays. While any movement is healthy and encouraged, weekend warriors do face some unique risks. Since these individuals experience long periods of inactivity during the week, and then excessive activity over the weekend, injury can be more likely.
Some common injuries include:
- Strains/sprains (ankles, hamstrings and groin)
- Overuse (shin splints, calf and elbow tendonitis, stress fractures)
- Lower back pain
- Shoulder/rotator cuff
We asked specialists from three of Parkview’s community hospitals to offer their tips for staying active and injury free any day of the week. Piotr Swiatkowski, lead outpatient therapist, Parkview Whitley Hospital, Sherry Schoening, MD, PT, DPT, Parkview Wabash Hospital, and Cory Fornal, outpatient physical therapist, Parkview Huntington Hospital Rehab and Wellness Center (with input from his colleagues Rachel Wallace, exercise specialist and Dylan Hartman, PTA, NSCA-CPT, physical therapist assistant) share their thoughts.
What are the most effective techniques for injury prevention?
Cory: It’s really important to ensure you observe a 5-10-minute warm-up period in which the body can be primed for heavier tasks. We also recommend a 5-10-minute cool down period. That is a great time for stretching.
Sherry: Train, including work on flexibility, strength and endurance.
Piotr: Most injuries can be prevented by appropriate preparations prior to activities, such as:
What is a sign that an injury could be something serious and it’s time to see a doctor?
Cory: If pain tends to worsen over the week after the activity and is also starting to limit your daily activities, it may be more than typical soreness.
Sherry: If you’ve taken a few days to rest and using ice/heat to settle inflammation is not working, you may need to speak with your doctor about taking an anti-inflammatory. If your symptoms persist, that would also mean it is time to make an appointment with your doctor or physical therapist.
- Inability to walk more than 4 steps without significant pain
- Inability to move affected joint
- Numbness at any part of the injured area
- Divot in your muscle or muscle pull that comes with bruise
- Immediate, significant swelling
- Increasing pain, especially 48 hours after injury
What is the best piece of advice for weekend warriors?
Cory: Listen to your body while you are performing any lifting or recreational activities.
Sherry: Think of your fitness goal like climbing a tall staircase or a mountain. You want to be at the top, but you realize it would be ridiculous to try to jump from the bottom to get to the top. You would likely lose your footing and come tumbling down. Fitness, like life, is a journey to be enjoyed along the way. How long it takes to get there is not the measuring stick, it is that you are consistently making movement forward until you reach your goal.
Piotr: It's important to be physically active and avoid injuries at the same time. If you are sedentary, it's extremely important to plan ahead in order to avoid exercise-related injuries. Progress exercise intensity. Professional athletes prepare for months (sometimes years) to reach a certain level of physical performance, so don’t try to bypass the preparation.