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If a busy schedule and hectic lifestyle often leave you too exhausted to exercise during the week, you probably save hiking, biking and gym visits for the weekends.  While any exercise is better than none at all, it’s important to remember that hitting it hard on the weekends after a sedentary week can make you more susceptible to potential injury. Weekend Warriors should not only properly prepare the body for exercise prior to engaging in fitness activities, but to use common sense during activity, and practice recovery efforts afterward.

Before

Strength, endurance, and flexibility often suffer when the majority of your time is spent behind a desk, in the car or on the couch; therefore, it becomes necessary to properly warm up and stretch the body before engaging in even moderate exercise. Stretching makes muscles more pliable, allowing joints to move more easily and be less likely to resist movement. 

Eating nutrient-rich foods and getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night not only fuel workout efforts, but improve focus and coordination.  In addition, both of these habits will help you maintain a healthy weight on the days you’re not exercising.

Another valuable injury-protection practice is chiropractic. Regular adjustments can identify and correct structural problems in the hips, knees, shoulders and back — areas commonly prone to injury.  In addition, chiropractic can increase nerve firing time and improve body balance during exercise, protecting your joints and making workouts more effective.

During

To warm muscles up and reduce the likelihood of sprains and strains, pace yourself by jogging or cycling at an easy pace prior to busting into a sprint.  “Actively rest” one minute for every five minutes of explosive activity by maintaining movement in less aggressive ways.  Varying workout speeds and intensity in intervals gives the body a break while keeping the heart rate up. 

Even when workout time is limited, aim to train across a variety of styles from the gentle isometrics in yoga, to the strength training of body weight (or heavier) exercises, to the cardio blast of swimming or running.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout, but don’t negate your calorie burn by loading up on sugary “sports drinks.” Instead, try water with added minerals and electrolytes, an often calorie-free way to stay hydrated and flush out toxins and byproducts from the many chemical reactions caused by exercise.

After

There are many ways to relieve soreness and help with muscle recovery.  Soaking in Epsom Salt baths can help restore the body’s electrolyte balance.  Additionally, the use of recovery tools like foam rollers, VooDoo Floss (latex bands) and compression socks flush out lactic acid,  improve fascial tone and increase blood flow, which can drastically reduce or eliminate muscle aches and pains.

Massage is a particularly beneficial post-workout therapy, especially when coupled with therapeutic essential oils such as Copaiba, Wintergreen and Young Living’s Panaway blend, which are great for relaxing muscles, improving circulation and reducing soreness.

Remember not to use exercise as a free pass to eat junk foods since what you eat can most definitely contribute to recovery.  An anti-inflammatory diet low in sugars and processed foods, but high in lean proteins, whole grains and leafy greens helps in muscle repair. 

If you’re time challenged, you should most definitely feel free to use the weekends to catch up on physical activity.  It’s a great way to boost cardiovascular, mental and social wellness.  Employing smart injury prevention tactics can help ensure you don’t spend the rest of the week in pain.

Watch Dr. Massey’s Facebook Live: Are you overdoing it with your workouts? This Infinity Wellness Center Minute, Dr. Massey is giving her tips for improving recovery and preventing injuries.