Easing Into Weekend Workouts
Richard Jones, Clark Fitness Center’s fitness specialist, stresses the importance of stretching and warming up prior to working out. To learn more on this subject, stop by the fitness office or call (804) 765-3646 or 734-6994.

With the warm weather approaching, more people are outdoors – enjoying the freedom and fresh air.

Those getting into summer shape are probably taking their exercise routine to the great outdoors.

The most important thing to remember is the phrase “weekend warrior.” Most people relate the term to those who go all out on the weekends with pick-up games and other physical activities.

Keep in mind that this activity is an adjustment your body has to process, and it takes time.

Slow and Steady

Take your approach to physical with ease. Your body may have been sedentary all winter and now it’s time to get active. Start off in small sessions of exercise over a period of time.

Intense activity is not advised if you’re body is not adequately prepared for it. The best thing to do is warm up the body with light exercise for 15 minutes and then stretch.

This will help eliminate the injuries that are common among weekend warriors. It will also help those who may have high blood pressure or other health issues. Try walking, instead of a two-mile run; or shoot hoops before engaging in a pick-up game.

Environmental Concerns

Now that the weather is nice, keep in mind that your body also needs to adjust to the changes. Many suffer from allergies and need to take the necessary precautions to better your respiratory system for physical activity.

With the warmer weather, allow the body to acclimate to the temperature changes. Dress appropriately for the activity, and take more breaks when the temperature rises, and you may even have to cut back on the intensity level, depending on your activity.

In warmer weather, remember to increase the fluid intake throughout the day, not just during exercise.

Injuries

For those that are unfortunate enough to suffer a weekend warrior injury, keep these few pointers in mind. The first thing to do is stop your activity immediately. Don’t try to fight through the pain; this will only make it worse.

The next thing to do is assess the injury and determine if it is a life-threatening injury or an emergency, and seek appropriate professional medical attention immediately.

With injuries that are not an emergency, follow the simple acronym, RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation).

Rest – Stop all activity promptly and rest the injured body part by limiting movement.

Ice – Ice the injured area for 15-20 minutes every hour. This will help with pain management as well as keeping swelling to a minimum. Use a barrier between the skin and the ice bag to prevent frostbite.

Compression – This can be accomplished using a compression wrap.

Wrap the area starting below the injury and working your way up the body. Be careful not to wrap too tight, which may restrict blood flow.

Elevation - Elevate the body part to minimize swelling.

Finally, seek professional medical attention as soon as possible to better treat the injury.

Good luck to all those weekend warriors, and remember to have fun getting into summer shape.