Helping Weekend Warriors Win the Battle Against Sports-related Injuries
Weekend warriors are a particular type of sports enthusiast. They cram their sports and workouts into just the weekends. As a
result, they often over-do-it and run a high risk for sports related injury.
Greenwich, CT / New York, NY (PRWEB) May 24, 2005 -- For “weekend warriors” – sports enthusiasts who find little time to indulge
in their favorite activities during the workweek, but try instead to cram a weeks’ worth of them into two short weekend days –
there’s good news, and there's bad news.
“The good news is that a recent study1 has found ‘weekend-warrior’ type exercise is still beneficial to the cardiovascular
system,” explains Kevin Plancher, M.D., a leading NY-area orthopaedist, sports medicine expert and official orthopaedic surgeon
of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard teams. “The bad news is that these ‘weekend warriors’ run a high risk of joint and muscle injuries
as a result of their lifestyle,” he adds.
‘Weekend Warrior’ Risks
Dr. Plancher notes that a number of factors conspire to make ‘Weekend Warrior’ activities more dangerous. “First, they tend to
be longer in duration and greater in intensity than weekday exercise sessions," he explains. What's more, from day-long golf
outings and hours-long tennis or racquetball sessions to organized games of team sports like soccer and basketball, ‘Weekend
Warrior’ sports also tend to involve groups of players. “Playing a sport with a group of college buddies or neighborhood friends
can inspire a more competitive spirit than, say, walking or jogging alone,” Dr. Plancher points out. “The more competitive we
get, the more likely we are to push our bodies past their limits, increasing the risk of injuries,” he says.
These injuries are most likely to occur in the joints and muscles of the knees, shoulders and elbows, Dr. Plancher notes, for
two key reasons. “Firstly, they are the three key areas that receive the most shock and friction during these ‘Weekend Warrior’
activities – and they're also the areas that get the least amount of weekday workouts, based on the ‘Weekend Warriors’ mostly
sedentary lifestyle during the workweek.”
Here to Stay
This ‘Weekend Warrior’ lifestyle is both real and necessary, it seems. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of
Labor Statistics 2003 “American Time Use Survey,”2 Americans spend 70% more time exercising on weekends than they do on weekdays.
That's because employed Americans spend more than eight hours on average each weekday at work, and another six hours on average
attending to household and family needs like chores, child care, errands and social/educational commitments. What's worse,
Americans spend what little recreation time they have during the week primarily on sedentary activities like watching television,
reading, computer activities or relaxation.
Ready, Set, Play
With experts suggesting that the ‘Weekend Warrior’ lifestyle is likely to persist, and can be a healthy “last resort” for those with no time to exercise during the week, Dr. Plancher offers the following tips to prepare the body for a weekend of intense sports activity:
- A little goes a long way… “’Weekend Warriors’ can take steps during the week to protect themselves for their weekend activities,”
Dr. Plancher points out. For example, take a quick 20-30 minute jog at lunch each day, or keep a set of light weights in the office
for a brief morning workout, or try using a towel as a resistance band to stretch shoulders and back muscles during a telephone
call. All of these activities can keep muscles engaged and fluid flowing in the joints, helping to ready these areas for more
intense activity on the weekends. “Preparing the body during the week for a high level of weekend activity is better than nothing
at all,” he adds.
- Saturday morning stretch… “Warmups are key to protecting joints before higher level exercise,” Dr. Plancher notes. He advocates
20-30 minutes of jogging or brisk walking to enhance joint flexibility, followed by brief stretching work to prepare the muscles
for a more intense workout.
- Take a break… “’Weekend Warriors’ should pace themselves properly during long activities,” Dr. Plancher advises. “Take breaks
at regular intervals for rest and to hydrate the body, because the muscles need water to function properly,” he adds.
- Don't be a hero… “It’s critical that ‘Weekend Warriors’ – and all athletes, for that matter – recognize when the body is
overworked, or when it is injured, and immediately stop the activity,” Dr. Plancher warns. “Many sports-related joint and muscle
injuries require immediate medical attention in order to heal as quickly and painlessly as possible,” he adds. If in doubt, call a
Kevin D. Plancher, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S., F.A.A.O.S, is a leading orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine expert with extensive
practice in knee, shoulder, elbow and hand injuries. Dr. Plancher is an Associate Clinical Professor in Orthopaedics at Albert
Einstein College of Medicine in NY. He is on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic
Surgeons and the American Journal of Medicine and Sports.
A graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine, Dr.Plancher received an M.S. in Physiology and an M.D. from their school
of medicine (cum laude). He did his residency at Harvard's combined Orthopaedic program and a Fellowship at the Steadman-Hawkins
clinic in Vail, Colorado where he studied shoulder and knee reconstruction. Dr.Plancher continued his relationship with the Clinic
for the next six years as a Consultant. Dr. Plancher has been a team physician for over 15 athletic teams, including high school,
college and national championship teams. Dr.Plancher is an attending physician at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City and The
Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT and has offices in Manhattan and Greenwich, Connecticut.
Dr.Plancher lectures extensively domestically and internationally on issues related to Orthopaedic procedures and injury
management. During 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 Dr.Plancher was named among the Top Doctors in the New York Metro area and was the
New York State Representative for the Council of Delegates to the American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons. For the past six
years Dr.Plancher has received the Order of Merit (Magnum Cum Laude) for distinguished Philanthropy in the Advancement of
Orthopaedic Surgery by the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation. In 2001, he founded "The Orthopaedic Foundation for
Active Lifestyles", a non-profit foundation focused on maintaining and enhancing the physical well-being of active individuals
through the development and promotion of research and supporting technologies. www.plancherortho.com.
To Learn More About Us
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Kevin Plancher, MD, Chairman of the Board
Janine D. Bahar, Executive Director
George Kollitides II
Kenneth M. Wisdom
Mary Ellen Yacura