Avoiding Weekend Warrior Injuries
Dr. Raj on Risks for Distance-Training Weekend Warriors
By Wendy Bumgardner, About.com Guide
Updated September 14, 2010
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* walking injuries
* marathon training
* half marathon training
“Dr. Bal Raj – Dr. Raj”
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Are you a “Weekend Warrior” who does intense exercise, such as distance training, on the weekend, while doing little the rest of the week? Many people want to train for a half marathon or marathon walk or run/walk. But they are time-crunched and try to fit it all in on the weekend. Even worse, rather than gradually increasing their weekend mileage, they may try to get in a few long workouts just in the month before the event.
Dr. Bal Raj, aka “Dr. Raj,” is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee surgery. He provides his insight into Weekend Warrior Syndrome for distance walkers.
Q: What sort of injuries would a walking or run/walk “Weekend Warrior” risk by doing long mileage (10 miles or more) without gradually training up to that distance?
Dr. Raj: There are a lot of potential injuries. On the orthopedic front, having good posture is extremely important as this pertains to your back. When you are walking, or running, and carry your weight towards the front, it can lead to abnormal, increased stress on your back – leading to a potential injury.
Also, the knees are at risk, as when fatigue comes on, there is more of a chance for injury as the muscles are not as protective to the joint itself. On top of that, if there is a lack of muscle conditioning – there can be spasms and possible tendon tears. There can also be risks with the heart as well. Is there is abnormal stress to a de-conditioned heart, it could lead to cardiac arrest, especially if you are dehydrated and your electrolytes change.
Q: Do older “Weekend Warriors” face a different set of injury risks?
Dr. Raj:Yes, older people are more prone to injury due to hormonal changes, and age-related issues such as arthritic joints and tight muscles. So, they are more likely to have pain, and possibly have tendon ruptures and stress fractures from osteoporosis.
Q: How is being overweight a factor in “Weekend Warrior” injury risks?
Dr. Raj:Weight is crucial, as each extra pound is seven pounds of joint reactive force on your knees. So really, if you are ten pounds overweight, that is an extra 70 pounds of force on your joints. Something to keep in mind and be very aware of when working out or running, or even just walking.
Q: What precautions should people with Type 2 Diabetes take in training for a long distance walk or run/walk?
Dr. Raj: Proper hydration is key here. I also recommend that they stretch before and after walking and/or running, and take it slow. I would give that advice to anyone, with or without Type 2 Diabetes.
Drinking Right for Walkers
Q: Are there gender differences you have seen in Weekend Warrior syndrome?
Dr. Raj: Yes. Women have smaller tendons and joints, so they are more likely to get an injury, however men tend to be more aggressive and push themselves harder, so the end result is pretty much equal.
Q: How might proper shoes or other gear help prevent injury?
Dr. Raj: Having a good pair of walking or running shoes with arches that will support the foot will prevent abnormal loading and protect the ankle from sprains. Having a good cushion in the shoe can also decrease loads on the foot bones, leading to less incidences of stress fractures. It is well worth the money to have a great pair of shoes for exercise; it can help prevent injury.
How to Choose the Right Walking Shoes
Q: Do you recommend any kind of cross-training (strength, flexibility, etc.) as a way to prevent being a Weekend Warrior or help reduce the risk of injury?
Dr. Raj: Absolutely, it is mandatory. It is important to stretch to increase flexibility, and if you are working out, having stronger muscles and tone can also help reduce potential injuries.
Stretches for Walkers
Strength Training for Beginners
Q: How can Weekend Warriors be motivated to do within-week training as well, and to gradually build distance endurance rather than procrastinating?
Dr. Raj: It is very important to build distance endurance and do training within the week — being a “weekend warrior” and going all-out for one weekend is where the injuries are most likely to happen. A change in your overall lifestyle is the answer. You can’t wake up one day and decide you are going to go on a ten mile hike with no preparation, and expect to see long term results, or not get injured. An overall lifestyle change, eating well, stretching, doing weekly work outs, and gradually working your way up to that ten mile hike is key!
About Dr. Raj: Dr. Raj is a Double Board Certified (American and Canadian) Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in hip, knee, and joint replacements, arthritis pain, sports injuries, fractures, and additional focuses on providing top alternative, conservative, and surgical options for any joint, bone, or muscle pain. He has been seen in the series “The Doctors” on SPIKE TV. Dr. Raj has also made the America’s Top Orthopedics List in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
Avoiding Walking Injuries
* Stretches for Walkers
* Drinking Guidelines for Distance Walkers
* How to Choose the Right Walking Shoes
* Marathon Training for Walkers
* Half Marathon Training for Walkers
* 10K Training for Beginners
* Preventing Knee Pain
* Walking Injuries – Prevention of Shin Splints and Plantar Fasciitis
* How to Lift Weights Safely – Tips for Safe Weight Training
* Joint Injury – Joint Injury Increases Risk of Osteoarthitis
* Shoulder Injuries and Prevention Tips