Getting Back to Being a Weekend (or Weekday) Warrior
Last year, people of all ages found themselves doing less exercise and activity due to the pandemic. Now many are starting to get back into a routine. Here’s how to return to a weekend warrior lifestyle safely.
With weather improving and vaccinations making recreational activities safer, Spring is a great time to get back into the physical activities and sports you love. But after less frequent exercise or prolonged time off, your body may need time to get used to the transition.
Let’s discuss some tips and tricks to prevent injury when suddenly starting, or restarting, an active lifestyle.
Increase activity slowly
If you haven’t worked out for a while, it’s important to ease back into activity and give your body a chance to acclimate. Going from little or no exercise to strenuous exercise can result in injury. Ramp up slowly and listen to your body.
The body maintains itself on a “use it or lose it” principle. After a long period of inactivity, the muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments and joints are not the same as they were, so activity cannot safely be picked up where you left off. Try building up muscle with lower impact activities, like the elliptical or stationary bike, before transitioning to more strenuous work. Start slowly, listening to your body as you increase; don’t try to push through pain.
Divide the exercise throughout the week with a rest day or two in between sessions to give the body time to recover from increased activity. Ice after exercise not only feels good it can facilitate recovery. Cross train doing a variety of different types of activities. Committing to consistency will help your body move past feelings of soreness and fatigue with time and can help prevent injury.
When getting back into activity after a break, committing to consistency will help your body move past feelings of soreness and fatigue with time, and can help prevent injury. Try building up muscle with lower impact activities, like the elliptical or stationary bike, before transitioning to more strenuous work
Warm up and stay hydrated
Warming up should always be part of your exercise routine if you’re just starting out or if you exercise regularly. Warming up allows your body to increase heart rate and supply more oxygen to your muscles, preparing them for more movement and flexibility. Slowly easing into activity helps prevent injury by reaching the ideal range of motion, respiratory performance, and circulatory operation.
Raising your body temperature enough to just break a sweat, followed by stretching, can help prepare for an exercise session and decrease injury chances. It is also effective to minimize the day after exercise soreness. As the weather heats up, it becomes more important to drink plenty of fluids to maintain hydration.
Remember to stretch after working out to help decrease soreness. Post workout stretches are commonly static, meaning they are held in one position for 30-60 seconds.
Use proper technique and equipment
Check out your equipment, particularly footwear, and make sure it is in good shape. Running shoes lose their shock absorption before they show much wear. Breaking in a new pair of shoes helps avoid uncomfortable blisters.
After a layoff, getting back to sports concentrating on proper technique will improve performance and decrease chance of injury. Coaching can be particularly useful in this situation.
Don’t push through the pain
Muscle soreness is normal after an intense workout, but sharp pain during a workout is not normal and can be a sign that injury is occurring.
If you feel that you have suffered an injury or have lingering aches and pains from your weekend warrior activities, please request an appointment at your closest Valleywise Health location.
Do the activity or exercise you enjoy
Running long distances, lifting weights and doing pushups aren’t for everyone. If you’re returning to a more active lifestyle after a year off, do the activities that you loved and missed most.
If the exercise or physical activity is enjoyable, you’re much more likely to stick to it. Soccer, swimming, tennis, hiking, etc. are all great ways to relieve stress and help you get moving again. Whatever you pick, make sure that it’s achievable for you right now, and work towards challenging yourself.
Want to learn more about how to start an exercise routine, sports medicine, and how it can help you stay active? Speak with a doctor at Valleywise Health to learn more about our sports medicine services at our new clinic. Book your appointment at ValleywiseHealth.org or call 1 (833) VLLYWSE.