What’s Ailing the Weekend Warrior?

Athletic young women and men are working out with weights and other fitness equipment in a gym.Monday through Friday you might sit sedentary at a desk staring at a computer screen. Your only activity might be the maneuvering of a computer mouse. The weekend hits and you trade in the computer mouse for a golf club, tennis racquet, paddleboard oar, softball glove or bicycle. You might also engage in games of pickup basketball, soccer or flag football. The weekend warrior has arrived in full armor. And you’re a prime target for injury. Weekend warriors, sometimes with sporadic and infrequent physical activity, are easily susceptible to muscle pulls, strains and sprains, and other injuries. Consistent physical activity and exercise during the week is the best way to condition the muscles and prepare you for weekend play, and reduce the risk for injury.

For those of us who might not have a lot of time during the week for proper physical conditioning, here are some tips to follow so you don’t go back to work on Monday with extreme soreness or a bevy of injuries:

  • Don’t overdo it. You’re not a professional athlete in training or in peak physical condition. Play and exercise with common sense. Don’t go too fast or be overly aggressive. Move in moderation. Beating the throw to first at the cost of a pulled hamstring isn’t worth it.
  • Warm up. Starting an activity cold or going all out from the opening whistle without proper preparation may set you up for trouble.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water or sports drinks. Start drinking 24 hours before your activity, it’ll help prevent cramping.
  • If you feel tired, fatigued or out-of-breath, take a break.
  • Stop the activity immediately if you feel a slight pull or muscle twinge. That’s a sign that something’s being overexerted or there’s too much pressure and strain on the muscle. Continuing with the activity will make it worse, cause pain and could lead to a more serious injury. Stop and live to play another day.

Sports and athletics can be fun for the average weekend warrior if you prepare and play accordingly, keep it in perspective and don't treat it like the big game!

The Sports Medicine Program at BayCare Health System provides you with a winning team of medical professionals. We provide the most advanced treatments to accelerate your recovery, restore optimal performance and get you back in the game. In addition to excellent clinical care, we also provide expert direction in preventing injuries and enhancing sports performance.

For more information or a physician referral, call 1-800-BayCare (1-800-229-2273) or find a doctor near you.