Weekend Warrior Syndrome

We’ve all heard the term…

It brings up the image of someone who works in an office; a couch potato or generally unfit person that decides to take on re-landscaping the yard or playing an epic game of softball at the family picnic…

We assume the end result is going to be some sort of injury due to the unaccustomed level effort – and it is probably true. But it can happen to almost anyone and it doesn’t have to be that extreme.

It happens when we are not be used to a certain level of effort using a given set of muscles. You might have decided this was a fantastic time to trim that hedge. Are your arms and shoulders used to that? Maybe you are pulling weeds instead? Turns out that is hard on your hands – and to your back, it looks a lot like lifting…over and over and over. You might spend a few hours painting and staring up at the ceiling. How does your neck feel? Or perhaps decided you needed some cardio and went for a five mile run. Is that typical for you?

So what to do?

  • Take your time.

  • Take some breaks to rest a bit.

  • Take breaks and engage in some self-care and stretching activities after you’ve spent time at an unaccustomed activity.

  • Make sure you are well hydrated.

  • Use heat to help loosen up tight muscles before you start.

  • Use ice to reduce inflammation afterward.

  • Take an Epsom salts bath to help heal and relax your muscles

We see people in our practice all the time that have some degree of injury or dysfunction due to fairly routine activities that happen to be out of the norm for them.

So what does this mean for you on a practical level? Do you just let the snow sit there in the winter? Leave the house unpainted. Throw away your bicycle? Absolutely not!

What it means is that we need to bring the level of our daily activities more in line with the larger tasks that we tackle. We often don’t move enough, or in a varied enough way from day to day. Everyone is busy, but the cost in time and money of a significant injury is greater than we might like to think.

If and when we decide to begin some otherwise potentially healthful fitness activity we should work up to it. Of course, no amount of daily exercise would prepare me for spending hours trimming trees in my yard or clearing two feet of snow.