Tips for Weekend Warriors

Are you a weekend warrior? You know, the people who go all out each weekend as if they were as nimble as they once were. Yet, they are the ones on the couch nursing (or should I say whining about) their aching back, hip, arm, shoulder, elbow, head, whatever for the next two days!

Are you a weekend warrior? You know, the people who go all out each weekend as if they were as nimble as they once were. Yet, they are the ones on the couch nursing (or should I say whining about) their aching back, hip, arm, shoulder, elbow, head, whatever for the next two days! My former professor wrote a book on retiring from athletics gracefully, a tough but necessary rite of passage. We try to hang onto former levels of activity, however, we are no longer practicing at the same level, which means we are no longer at the same level. A hard realization, I know.
According to Jim Rauzi, physical therapist with the Center for Muscle and Joint Therapy in Superior, WI, the first part of understanding the pains associated with weekend warrior type activity is to accept that you are experiencing a little (in some cases a lot) more activity than you are used to. No matter what you used to do, you no longer work at that level and accepting that you cannot jump into activity the same way is crucial. Ideally, you should be training for your events. Train for golf outings, sports leagues, 5-Ks, and other activities you know are taxing. Many people feel this is overkill, however, those who train feel much better after the race and are much less likely to suffer a debilitating injury.

For those of you with time before the big event consider training to help you perform your best. The biggest mistake I see is overestimating what the body can do based on old memories of what it did. Yea, you used to be able to run, skate, tumble, row, ride that fast or further. Unfortunately, you haven’t been training and at one time you practiced those activities.

More on training for an event next time.

Learning To Balance

Balance is something many of us take for granted. Think about how you balance. Has anything ever taken away your balance? An injury or loss of hearing, sight, or a case of vertigo? Have you tried incorporating balance into your fitness training and noticed how much your core engages? Balance can be a great way to begin adding functional activity into your daily life.

Balance is learned. Many of us don’t remember learning because we were little when we learned to walk. If we can learn it, we can unlearn it, so we must keep doing it to keep our balance strong. Balance is done not only with the body, but the eyes and ears. If we lose a sense, we will have to adjust how we balance.
Start noticing when do you need to hold onto the railings, walls, things around you? Begin trying to hold on less. If you already have great balance begin incorporating unstable surfaces into your workouts, such as the BOSU, balance discs, and foam rollers.

Balance can be incorporated into many different movements, but my favorite way to teach balance is to have people brush their teeth while standing on one leg. Your body will adapt very quickly, as this is more a nervous system adaptation. Once you’ve got it on one leg move to your other. You may find you balance easier on one leg than the other. Each of us has a dominant side so it is normal to feel as though you are better at balancing or using one side or the other. By practicing balance on both sides of the body you are creating freedom to move.

More freedom in movement will translate into moving more, and you’ll be feeling great about your body’s ability to move. Once again, your body – absolutely amazing!

What is Flexibility Training?

Many times this fitness component gets left behind. Here’s why you should take this part of your exercise routine seriously.

Flexibility refers to our joints’ ability to move through their complete range of motion. This is very important to our fitness level because it allows us to perform the movements we want to do. If you are an athlete you’ll want to have the ability to move through full range so you are at the top of your game. If you are moving for health you’ll want to train for flexibility because supple joints allow you to move well.

Inadequate range of motion is the cause of many injuries. Lower back pain is often associated with tight abdominals, hip flexors, or hamstrings, and the more you hurt the less you move. The less you move the more tight your muscles become and the less you move. See where this leads?

As a component of fitness, flexibility training should be done after a workout, when the muscles are warm. Stretching after a workout allows your muscles to learn. They remember how far they stretch, which is how our flexibility grows. Performing flexibility training when the muscles are warm allows them to capitalize on the blood they have, creating more stretch safely.

Flexibility does have limits. We are genetically programmed to be more or less flexible, but not an excuse for not training. You will build upon what you have. Remember fitness is about where you are, not where you think you should be or where your neighbor is. It is all about you.

Feel like you need a tool to help you reach your flexibility goals? Try foam rollers.