The modern lifestyle often entails long periods of sitting in front of a computer or a pile of paperwork all week. This atmosphere is ripe for the breeding of the weekend warrior, one who sedentary weekday life is juxtaposed with rigorous weekend activity. The weekend warrior is tempted to embark upon great physical feats after being pent up five days a week. Unfortunately, this is a recipe for disaster.
The back is often the focus of physical punishment for the weekend warrior. Back pain is not just an adult phenomenon. Many teenagers are experiencing back pain due to the modern lifestyle. A Japanese study, found at ajs.sagepub.com/content/38/4/791.abstract, shown that back pain is significantly more prevalent among youths who play sports. This is likely the result of insufficient conditioning.
If a vegetarian decides to start eating meat and begins with a pound of steak, you would expect intestinal distress to follow. Just like the stomach, muscles require condition.
If you're a weekend warrior, the intensity of pain you experience depends on two factors: 1) how in shape you are to begin with and 2) how physically demanding the accused feat is.
The true rigor of an activity can be difficult to gauge. Tennis and golf are two sports that many people enjoy on weekends and perceive as low-impact activities, yet there are a plethora of injuries that commonly result from them. The most common complaint among golfers is back pain due to the unnatural twisting required for the golf swing and the hunked position of the putting stance. Both golfers and tennis players experience the infamous tennis elbow, characterized by inflammation above the elbow. Tennis players often suffer injuries to the wrist, shoulders and knees as well.
There is, indeed, a hierarchy of risk. Some sports require intense physical training before being ventured upon. Kayaking, for example, makes particular use of the rotator cuff, a group of muscles that controls the joint where the shoulder rotates. This area must be built up before kayaking in order to avoid serious injury.
Two sports that require full-scale training are diving and surfing. A diver needs immense flexibility and strength to push off the board, move through the air and enter the water. Strong legs, shoulders and core are essential. Some might also mistake scuba diving as an easy sport with little or no physical skill required. This is a life threatening mistake. Your body needs to be conditioned to handle the stresses of carrying extra weight, hauling heavy tanks and swim long distances on the water surface should you get in trouble under the water.
Surfers have solid cores that help them balance on their boards. Their upper bodies are built up for paddling. Even a surfer's chest is conditioned to allow for holding the head off the board while paddling.
While all physical activities require some form of conditioning, it is clear that some demand more than others. Determining the rigor of an activity is crucial to avoiding serious injury.
How to Train
In order to upgrade from weekend warrior to full-time warrior status, you must take various steps. First, a physical assessment should be connected to determine how fit you are. If light physical activity leaves you winded and sore, starting small is necessary. If only certain parts of your body experience repercussions after activity, then these should be the focus of an exercise plan.
If you have already experienced an injury, you will need corrective exercise before jumping back in the game. Physical therapy has the goal of targeting problem areas. The process is generally gradual and cautious so as not to exacerbate existing injuries. Movement is important for healing, and the physical therapist's job is to know how much is just enough.
If you have a particular sport of interest, studying the muscle groups it uses most is a great way to prepare. Regular exercise must be incorporated into weekday routines in order to avoid pain and injury. On days when the sport is not to be played, half an hour should be set aside for exercise. Spend half of that time targeting sport-specific muscles and half on general upkeep of other muscles, since muscle imbalance can cause injury.
Making time during the weekday to prepare for weekend play is the remedy for weekend warrior woes. Sticking to a regular workout plan will allow you not only to satisfy your competitive side, but to do so without sabotaging your body.