Work hard, play hard? Doctors say people who are deskbound all week and then exercise in large bursts over the weekend might be doing their bodies more harm than good.
Myhealthnews.com, a daily health news website, reported that people who save all of their exercising for "big weekend bursts of physical activity" might be hurting their bodies, with their exercise habits making them more prone to injury.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 10,000 Americans visit emergency rooms for sports and exercise-related injuries every day.
U.K. fitness center manager Vicki Lee Andrews told health website Net Doctor: "Despite the fact that we run classes 12 hours a day, seven days a week, our influx of members is always up 60 percent at the weekends."
Earlier this year, the Asian Correspondent reported on the growing weekend warrior trend in China, with Western fitness companies flooding the market selling their products to the white-collar crowd. Once seen as something only "crazy foreigners" participated in, more and more Chinese are taking part in marathons, triathlons, and other extreme sports as a side project after long hours in the office.
Who is the biggest culprit for injury? "Weekend-warrior injuries are most common among formerly active people over age 30, whose work and family obligations prevent weekday exercise," said Dr. Jeffrey Spang from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, in a news release.
"People also hurt themselves when they have been inactive, and then suddenly take on a major exercise program, such as training for a half-marathon," he said. "A better plan is to break your sessions into smaller, more frequent increments and to avoid exercising too much, too soon."
The most common injury? Muscle strain, said Spang, but chronic tendonitis and ruptures of the Achilles tendon also result from intense bouts of exercise.
Myhealthnews.com offers four tips to avoid weekend-warrior injuries:
1. Do a warm-up, like walking or biking at a moderate pace. Wait to stretch until after your workout, when your muscles are warm.
2. If you feel sharp or stabbing pain, stop exercising immediately. Apply ice and visit your doctor if the pain doesn't go away after a few days.
3. Exercise with a friend. It'll be more fun and you're likely to exercise more regularly.
4. Use proper techniques when exercising. Talk to a trainer or read up on the proper techniques to perform your favorite activity.