How many of you have the “Weekend Warrior” friend who keeps getting injured all the time?
How many of you are that friend?
It’s understandable. Life gets busy, our responsibilities feel really heavy, and we let our exercise habits fall by the wayside.
And maybe we rely on the someday hope: “When I’m not as busy….; “When I finish X project…”; “When the kids are in school…”; “When I don’t feel so tired…”; “When I have more money…”
Or we assume that a pickup game of basketball or some weekend hiking will keep us solid.
The problem is, life doesn’t care if we’re busy – it’s going to keep coming regardless.
And as nice it would be, our bodies don’t stay well-tuned while we’re waiting for time to take care of them.
Our bodies simply prepare for the future we ask them too.
And all too often, the future we ask them to prepare for doesn’t involve much movement. It’s a lot of sitting around interspersed with occasional and unpredictable bursts of activity.
All of a sudden, we do more than we were prepared for…and we get injured.
Then we blame it on getting older, or on a bad back, or on just plain bad luck.
When, if we’re being honest with ourselves, it was more about poor preparation.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t cases of bad luck, or that getting older doesn’t bring some changes.
Yet even in those situations, wouldn’t it still serve us better to have a body that was already functioning well? A body that was more resilient that could bounce back quicker after injury or setbacks?
FOUNDATIONAL STRENGTH & CARDIO
Building a foundation of strength and aerobic fitness can help prepare us for whatever comes our way.
Load Vs Capacity
Load is the total amount of stress (physical, psychological, etc.) that’s put on our system (muscles, bones, nervous system, etc).
Capacity refers to our body’s ability to handle that load.
If we have a high capacity-to-load ratio, our body will be able to handle a ton of load, and we’ll be less likely to get injured with a given effort.
Check out this awesome video that explains this concept in more depth.
Let’s take a look at a few examples to reinforce the concept:
It's here that we often go wrong in "Weekend Warrior" mode - we haven't built our capacity up enough to handle the stresses of whatever we're doing - hiking, trail running, basketball, pickle-ball, etc.
Our workouts the rest of the week (or lack thereof) don't support our hobbies, and so we get injured.
While our bodies are incredible at adapting, the only way to build up successfully is through consistent, long-term effort and training.
And the payoff extends to so many different body systems.
Immune Effects of Exercise
Regular strength training and aerobic exercise also impact how our bodies fight off invaders.
Exercise can help strengthen our immune system, making us less likely to get sick in the first place, and less likely to experience severe symptoms when we do get sick.
So, how much exercise do you need to support your hobbies and all of the other things you love to do?
The best place to start is where you're at, and work your way up from there.
Drastically increasing how often and how intensely you exercise is a recipe for injury and setbacks.
Increase time first and then look at increasing the intensity of your exercise.
With strength training, make sure you understand how to do the exercises, and be able to do them with good form before loading the exercises up.
With aerobic fitness, you should look at an 80/20 split between low-intensity and high-intensity. Knowing your heart rate zones will help you get the most out of every workout and keep you from getting burnt out.
If you feel like you need some help here, consider Becoming Body Smart . In our 6-month program, you'll learn how to design your live and develop your habits to support a lifetime of health and fitness.
Addition & Subtraction
Sometimes, life feels so hectic you might wonder how you could fit anything else in - the times you can swing getting out and being active are already few and far between - and adding in anything else seems exhausting.
So before you look at adding in new or more exercise, see what you can subtract. Is there anything you're doing right now that you could stop doing?
Say NO to more things
This can be really difficult - most of us have a lot of obligations. And the shame we feel over not having superhuman abilities to manage everything perfectly, can lead us to overpromise and overextend ourselves, until we feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted.
Allowing ourselves the grace to say "No" to more things can give enough breathing room to re-orient ourselves and decide how we really want to spend out time
Limit your time on social media
We all know we should spend less time scrolling our feeds, but that doesn't make it easier to stop. It's designed to hijack our brains and give us hits of feel-good dopamine to keep us coming back for more.
Setting up some guidelines around how often you're on can be helpful. There are apps that can help you limit this or you might recruit a friend or family to help out.
Sometimes it can even be helpful to do a social media fast, where you take a week-long break, and hit the reset button on how you interact with social media.
Turn off the TV
It's so nice after a long day to come home, flip on your favorite show, and veg out for a bit. And besides you're only committing to a 30-minute episode.
Or maybe 2. Or 10 (We've all been there).
And before you know it, the night's gotten away from you and it's an hour past bedtime.
Maybe you use the sleep function on your TV or set your router to turn the internet off at a specific time to break the routine.
Now that you've found some of the things you can remove, here's a few things to add that will give you more bang for your buck.
Anything you add in should be high-impact.
Get more sleep
Most adults in the US don't get nearly enough sleep. And the problem is only getting worse.
Yet sleep is important for so many different things. It helps our bodies repair, recover, and rebuild. It helps us think more clearly, make better decisions, and helps us learn and remember better.
Setting up your schedule and your routines to help you get more sleep is crucial. The payoffs on getting quality sleep are exponential.
Take more "movement snacks"
I don't remember where I first heard it, but I've long loved the concept of "movement snacks."
It's the idea of taking little breaks throughout your day to add in more activity/movement.
Things like taking a walk around your office or house every 30 minutes.
Or doing 10 jumping jacks every hour on the hour.
Or taking a walk in nature on a lunch break or between errands.
Our bodies love movement - they weren't designed for small bursts of movement and long stretches of inactivity; they were designed for long stretches of movement, and short bursts of inactivity (not counting sleep - if you've already forgotten about the importance of sleep, go back to the last section).
When you put in the time and effort to make fitness a foundational part of your regular routine it will support everything else you do. You'll have the energy and the capacity to handle whatever comes your way.
You can be an every day warrior, not just on the weekends.
For more information on getting the most out of your fitness efforts, check out our blog post on the 5 Key Principles to Avoiding Sabotaging Your Fitness Sabotage or download the FREE 5 Keys eBook!