Are you a weekend warrior?
Is your weekday schedule too hectic to include a workout routine? Do you save all your physical activity for the weekend? Then you’re a weekend warrior!
Being active is great for your physical and mental health. However, if your body isn’t used to regular exercise, it can mean an increased risk of injury, which can spoil a perfectly good weekend.
Top tips for weekend warriors
1. Don’t go too hard without preparation.
Leaping into challenging physical activities without preparation can lead to a range of injuries, including muscle strains, ankle sprains, tendonitis, shin splints, shoulder injuries or back pain. If you’re a little out of shape or just starting out, be aware of your limitations and commit to regular exercise to improve strength and endurance before you run that 5k or climb that mountain.
2. Avoid dehydration.
Extreme heat can be dangerous when combined with physical exertion and a lack of preparation.
If you are hiking or playing a sport, you will need two to four cups of water per hour of physical activity. If it’s over 100 degrees, you will need twice that amount. It's better to assume you will need more water rather than less. Drink at least a cup every hour, even if you are not thirsty.
3. Avoid heat exhaustion.
During the heat of summer, exercise during the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. Temperatures above 90 degrees and humidity levels above 60 percent greatly increase the possibility of developing heat exhaustion.
Be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- Dark-colored urine
- Dizziness or fainting
- Headache or feeling tired
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Pale skin and profuse sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
To treat heat exhaustion, move to a cool place such as an air-conditioned space or a cool, shady location. Drink plenty of fluids (no coffee or alcohol), take a cool shower or bath, and use fans or ice towels to cool the body.
Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is a medical emergency. If you or anyone else experiences fainting or a core temperature above 104 degrees, call 911 immediately.
4. Practice sun protection.
Sunburn is painful and avoidable. Every exposure to the sun increases your chance of skin cancer and premature aging. Stay in the shade during the hottest part of the day, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher and apply to exposed skin 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
Improve your health, even on weekdays!
If you want to improve your health and well-being but need help to find the best way forward, make an appointment with your primary care provider (PCP). Your PCP can help you develop a plan based on your goals and current fitness level, taking into account any pre-existing conditions or risk factors.
If you haven’t seen your PCP for some time, it’s also a good opportunity to discuss any screening tests, physical exams or updates to vaccinations that you may need.