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Tips to keep weekend warriors injury free

Many time-deprived parents know that engaging in an intense bout of exercise one day a week while remaining sedentary the other six days increases their risk of injury, but they still persist with irregular, hard workouts. I understand completely as I’m often at fault of the same behaviour. Since my son arrived this summer, I have been trying to balance my desire to spend as much time with him with my busy clinical schedule. On the days I work this means I rarely find time to exercise.

Lack of conditioning or pushing oneself too hard often results in lower limb injuries, particularly heel pain, ankle sprains and damage to the Achilles tendon. Although exercising regularly throughout the week is the best injury prevention, if you are a weekend warrior, here are a few things you can do to lower your risk of injury:

• Wear the correct footwear for your sport and make sure it fits properly. Equally important – replace it when it gets too worn. Watch for excessive tread wear and weakening of the heel support structure.

• Gradually increase the intensity of your activity over time. If you can only train once a week keep your goals realistic.

• Take time to warm up properly. Stretch all your major muscle groups and then begin with a moderate activity.

• Work with a professional such as a personal trainer or neighbourhood running group. Discuss your limited workout time and then devise a program that is appropriate for your schedule.

• If you get hurt, rest and apply ice. Don’t try to push through the injury.

• If you experience a recurring foot or lower limb injury or it doesn’t heal with rest, book a consultation with a Canadian Certified Pedorthist in your community. Your Pedorthist will determine if different or custom-made foot orthotics will help.

Exercise plays a crucial role in your overall physical and mental health so even when your time is limited it is important to stay active. Following these tips will help to lower your risk of injury until you are able to follow a more regular exercise program.

By Kevin Fraser C. Ped (C) Toronto, ON

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