The Weekend Warrior – Reduce Your Risk

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Recent research suggests that roughly 80% of Americans don’t exercise enough. Everyone has their reasons as to why they don’t exercise, whether it’s work, family commitments, or difficulty staying motivated. However, these reasons are often simply justifications for not exercising. Let’s take a look at general exercise recommendations, the risks of not exercising regularly, and what you can do to reduce your risk.

Weekend warrior

The Statistics

  • According to the US Government, the minimum recommended amount of exercise for adults is 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise and 2 days of total body muscle-strengthening exercises per week.
  • According to the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention), only 21% of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise per week.

For anyone who pays attention to pro sport, you’ll know that pre-game preparation is paramount. National Football League (NFL) players, for instance, spend an entire week preparing for game-day; they need to stay limber, stay hydrated and nourished, stay strong and recover from last week’s game.  If you’re a weekend warrior, chances are that you do the opposite: eat unhealthily, fail to consume enough water, fail to stay limber throughout the week (i.e. sitting at your desk non-stop), don’t stretch and think you’re ready to throw down on game day.

You may ask “What are the actual risks? I’m still exercising aren’t I? Better than nothing, right?”

The Risks of Not Exercising Regularly

  • Muscle/joint/tendon strains/tears
  • Knee and back pain
  • Chronic tendonitis
  • Potential for cardiovascular issues (especially among those with diabetes, hypertension, abnormal blood cholesterol, tobacco use, family history or other cardiovascular risk factors).
  • Those with heart-disease can suffer a heart attack if they’re stationary all week and then go hard on the weekend.

Ok. So maybe you’ve conceded that you don’t do all that much to prepare for game day. Now you’re asking, “How can I reduce my risk?”

How to Prepare for the Weekend Battlefield

Here are some ways to prepare for your weekend workouts:

weekend warrior-skateboarding
  • Ditch the huge daily lunch and walk for 20 minutes a day on your lunch breaks. You will come back to work feeling refreshed and ready to attack the afternoon.
  • Take 4 or 5 minutes to stretch at your desk or while standing, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
  • Look for every opportunity to exercise with your children and/or spouse; coach hockey/football/basketball/soccer, toss the ball around, shoot hoops or ride bikes!
  • Do a daily inventory of how you’re feeling; target areas that don’t feel all that great and exercise those demons!  (Deskercise! 33 Smart Ways to Exercise at Work)
  • Monitor your pee. This might sound odd but if your urine is the color of a post-it note, you’re doing it wrong. HYDRATE!
  • Snack Smart: Avoid high sugar snacks/drinks and go for the protein, veggies and real fruit smoothies. When in doubt? Hydrate.
  • Do a proper warm-up as you approach game-time. This could include walking, a light jog, biking, or light stretching.

Maybe your definition of a weekend warrior differs greatly from someone who participates in sport; perhaps your weekend battleground is the garden, leisurely strolls, playing with your grandchildren or golfing. Go ahead and use some of these tips to maximize your quality of life!

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JJ Podborski

By JJ Podborski

JJ Podborski is an Alberta import that attended Saint Mary's University and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce. Now permanently located in Halifax, he has a passion for sports of all kinds but mainly hockey and lacrosse.

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