A Letter to the Weekend Warriors and the Active Athletes
It's important to be physically active and avoid injuries at the same time. This is especially important for a 'weekend warrior' and for the everyday athlete. If you are sedentary or starting a new workout program, it's extremely important to plan in order to avoid exercise-related injuries. After all, the human body cannot go from 'inactive' mode to 'weekend warrior' mode in an instant. Nor can the body go from one exercise routine to another exercise routine without easing into the new exercises.
Exercise intensity must be progressive; otherwise the risk for injury increases. After all, professional athletes prepare for months (sometimes years) to reach a certain level of physical performance. The same goes for the average athlete. Athletes should prepare their bodies for months during the off-season, as they prepare their body for an intense season. Weekend warriors tend to bypass 'preparation' and jump right into intense activity.
Common injuries include joint inflammation, muscle tears, and ligament sprains. Most injuries can be treated with physical therapy after the acute symptoms have subsided. In severe cases, surgery might be needed.
It's important for the weekend warriors and the average athlete to be realistic. For starters, don't expect your body to adapt right away to intense activities. If you have been inactive all week long, your body will not be prepared for physical challenges over the weekend
Warm up and Cool Down
A warm up is a simple, yet neglected way to avoid injuries. Eight to ten minutes of walking or light jogging, combined with some light stretching is a great way to prepare your body for exercise and minimize injuries.
When you're finished with your activity, don’t come to a sudden stop. Give your muscles a chance to recover by reducing your intensity but keep moving. For example, if you have been running, don't come to a stop. Walk for the last few minutes. A cool down period helps restore blood circulation and reduce injuries.
Being realistic and plan. For best results, get some regular exercise every day. This allows your body to adapt and prepare for your favorite weekend activities.
If you are one of the many started a new workout program, here are a few ways that a physical therapist can help:
Assessment of Your Body Mechanics/Movements – Your ability to do simple things like move, walk, sit and stand is important to us. We use this insight to create an injury prevention program.
Home Exercise Programs – Once we have reduced your pain, inflammation and restored your muscle strength in the clinic, we'll design a personalized home exercise program for you. This will help you maintain your results in the comfort of your own home.
Treatment Techniques - Physical therapy techniques include exercise, hot and cold packs, ultrasound, manual therapy, and much more to deal with different types of injuries.
As your physical therapists, we are committed to helping you do the things you enjoy over the weekend. Regardless of your age and activity level, physical therapy can help prevent injuries and improve well-being. Call In Touch Physical Therapy today at 507-451-7888.
By Dr. Megan Fuhrman