There is no doubt that staying active and exercising is good for you. There is overwhelming evidence that engaging in any sport or activity and exercising regularly has many physical, psychological, and emotional benefits. Some of these benefits are listed below:
- Increase strength, flexibility, endurance
- Increase bone, joint, and muscle health
- Decrease fatigue
- Improve cardiovascular and pulmonary efficiency and performance
- Decrease stress and tension
- Help decrease depression, anxiety and other mood disorders
- Improve balance, coordination, mobility
- Help slow down the process of aging
- Help with preventing diseases/disorders such as metabolic syndrome
- Improve immunity
- Improve memory, cognitive performance, and learning
A Weekend Warrior is someone who exercises only on the weekends without any activity during the week due to busy lifestyle, and work. Many calls to clinics on Monday mornings relate to injuries sustained on the weekend by weekend warriors.
Regardless of whether you are a “weekend warrior” or a professional athlete, you must make sure the exercise or activity that you are engaging in is performed correctly and properly. It does not matter how much you are exercising or what activity you are doing; the important thing is that you are doing something. Anything is better than nothing. Having said that, however, it is extremely important to remember that any exercise or activity can cause injury and harm to the body if not performed properly. The key to being able to continue doing what you love is keeping away from injury or harm. This is perhaps the key difference between most professional athletes and non-professionals. Professional athletes go to great lengths to make sure they are doing the right things to stay healthy and injury free. Non-professionals might be less willing to take the extra steps necessary to stay healthy, perhaps due to lack of knowledge and understanding. For instance, they might think that because the intensity of the exercises they do is less compared to athletes, then there is no need to take extra precautions to avoid injury. This is simply not TRUE. In fact, regardless of how intense the exercise is or how skilled an individual is, similar steps should be taken to avoid injury.
FORMULA for success
Below is a simple guide you can follow to stay healthy regardless of your level of performance/activity.
Get the proper equipment
- It is astonishing how many injuries happen because people do not have the proper equipment such as shoes. Equip yourself with the proper gear. It will save your body in the long run and will limit injuries
- Don’t be cheap, spend the money. It’s an investment for your body
- Consult a professional if you’re not sure
Learn the benefits of exercise – Challenge yourself – Set goals
- Have a plan in mind that will help you push yourself. Set an achievable goal that is realistic but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself
Learn the proper techniques and master them
- Nothing is more important than doing an exercise properly
- Improper technique can lead to injury but will also teach your body improper movement patterns and habits that will be hard to get rid of
- Start slow and improve progressively; watch videos, consult experts
- Warm-up is extremely important in preventing injury and enhancing performance. Warm-up helps loosen joints, activate and warm up muscles, improve blood flow, and increase heart rate
- Warm-up does not mean 3 minutes of static stretching
- Spend at least 10-15 minutes. Not less!
- Engage in dynamic movements, breathing exercises, dynamic stretching
Listen to your body – Don’t overdo it
- Doing more doesn’t necessarily mean more benefit. Listen to your body during exercise. If it’s telling you that something might be too much, then it probably is too much. Better to be safe than sorry
- Definitely don’t exercise when you’re in pain
Stay hydrated, well-nourished, and energized
- Drink water. Be hydrated for exercise. Make sure you’ve eaten something within the last 2 hours prior to exercise. Have energy to exercise properly.
- Exercise is not just about losing calories and weight. It’s about health.
- Cooling down is just as important as warming up. Cool down allows the heart rate to come down gradually. It also limits getting stiffness and soreness post exercise
- Spend 10-15 minutes
Rest & Recover – Don’t over-train
- Over-training can lead to injuries because you haven’t given your body time to recover and repair itself.
- Rest and recovery are just as important as training; they also enhance performance
Get sport-specific conditioning
- Learn the proper movement patterns and strengthen the muscles and joints you’re using for your sport
- Go to the gym – do cardio and weight training necessary for your movements
- Get professional help if you’re not sure. Hire a strength & conditioning coach for a few sessions. Ask them to make a specific plan for you
Maintain your body and take preventative measures
- Find the right chiropractor, physiotherapist, or massage therapist that work well for you. Every doctor and therapist is different. Have YOUR TEAM of trusted doctors/therapists
- Get regular treatments to minimize muscle and joint dysfunctions, improve movement and flexibility, enhance performance
Treat injuries properly and promptly
- Follow PRICE protocol for the first 2-3 days post injury. If not better after 4-7 days and pain is lingering, see someone in YOUR TEAM.
- The sooner you treat an injury, the sooner your healing and recovery will be
- Don’t exercise with an injury; it can lead to other injuries
Have fun – Enjoy what you do
- Exercise should be fun and engaging. Have a good attitude. Respect and protect your mind and body.
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