Today's men don't hunt ferocious saber-toothed tigers with spears and stones like your ancient ancestors had to. You wake up on Saturday and lace up your running shoes or climb the ladder to do odd jobs around the house. Still, tame as it may sound, you're asking for trouble if you suddenly overdo it after working a desk job all week.

What's the trick to preventing most weekend injuries? Common sense. But if you've ever spent time at an urgent care center or emergency room, you know better judgment is in short supply. In fact, sports injuries among younger to middle-aged men are so common, health care providers refer to the muscle pulls, back strains, shin splints, tendonitis, stress fractures and ankle sprains they see among this group as "weekend warrior syndrome." Studies also show that men who participate in high intensity activities that involve running and jumping are at greater risk for developing arthritis, as well.

Prevent weekend warrior injuries

To avoid injury, practice the basic prevention outlined below. While your enthusiasm for activity is admirable, it becomes more and more important to follow these guidelines so you don't get hurt as you age:

  • Warm up and stretch before activity.
  • Raise activity levels gradually over weeks, not overnight.
  • Use protection - proper shoes, helmets, pads, gloves, safety goggles, etc.
  • Work or play at your strength or skill level.
  • Don't take dangerous risks - it's just a game.
  • Lose weight - it reduces stress on your joints and bones.

Listen to your body. If you experience pain, that means you should either modify your activity or stop the activity all together. Don't be afraid to take a break, stretch out again, and always know when to quit. Don't be a hero — it could leave you with a lifelong injury. See your health care provider immediately at urgent care, if possible, if you experience pain or prolonged soreness from your weekend activities.

We can help if you hurt

These injury-prevention tips are smart strategies to keep pain out of your life. But, if a nagging injury causes you pain or an accident occurs, we can help.

To find a doctor or speak to a nurse, call Consult-A-Nurse® at (951) 788-3463, 24 hours a day.