Are you a weekend warrior?
You know the type. Monday through Friday, you spend most of the day at work and the rest either catching up on chores or collapsing on the couch. But the weekend? That’s reserved for as much running, hiking, basketball, tennis, soccer, football, hockey, or other activity of choice that you can squeeze in.
At Martin Foot & Ankle, we of course encourage you to exercise, stay healthy, and have fun! We also understand that 21st century obligations don’t often leave much room for recreation during the work week. So, we want you to enjoy your time off!
That said, the weekend warrior cycle—many sedentary days followed by short, vigorous bursts of rigorous activity—can expose feet and ankles to significant stress, pain, and injury risk. If you want the best chance at avoiding those unfortunate outcomes, you need to prepare. Here are some tips to lower your injury risk:
- Try to stay active throughout the week. See what works in your schedule. This could mean a visit to the gym before or after work a few days per week, or going for a morning or evening run. Even stretching at your desk several times per day and going for a 30-minute walk on your lunch break can have a profound impact. We also highly recommend working on building ankle strength, as ankle sprains are extremely common for weekend warriors.
- Build slowly toward new activities. When you throw yourself recklessly into a new sport, or try to double your mileage in a week, you significantly increase your injury risk. Start slow and build the intensity of your exercises gradually over several weeks.
- Don’t skimp on gear. You shouldn’t expect that the same pair of casual sneakers you wear every day is going to give you the support, cushioning, stability, traction, or other features you need for a run or a vigorous game of volleyball, basketball, or soccer. Investing a little extra up front in a pair of shoes that fits great and is specifically designed for the sport you play will not only offer better comfort and performance, but could spare you an expensive, frustrating injury.
- Warm up and cool down. A little active cardio (jogging, footwork drills, butt kicks, etc.) before exercise warms up your muscles and helps them resist strains. Cooling down and stretching afterward helps them flush toxins from your system more efficiently.
- Hydrate. Many casual weekend warriors don’t drink nearly enough water before or during their exercise, and that can be disastrous. It doesn’t take much to become dehydrated, which not only brings down your athletic performance but also puts your entire body at greater physical risk.