If you’re like most people, you tend to use the weekend to get things done. This means errands and chores, but for many it means getting to that exercise you didn’t get to during the busy work week. And for many of us you probably over do it too!

Experts call you a “Weekend Warrior,” someone who only works out on the weekends and gives it their all (and sometimes more than that.) Did you know your enthusiasm on the weekends could actually do you more harm than good?

Most adults have expressed to their doctors a tightness in their muscles. This tightness can cause the weekend warrior to compensate, moving in ways that put strain on other muscle groups. Don’t neglect stretching, especially when your muscles haven’t been worked in more than a few days. Stretching helps loosen our muscles and gets them ready for exercise. Warm up stretches before and cool down stretches after any workout will ensure that you get the most from your workout and that you minimize the risk of injury.

Weekend warriors may feel the need to increase their activity or its intensity. Unfortunately, pushing yourself harder than what your body is ready for can cause injury. Instead, start with an intensity or activity level that you know you can handle, and repeat it every day with small, gradual increases in intensity. If you are consistent with easy low impact activity throughout the week, your body has a chance to strengthen and is more flexible so that you can push a little harder on the weekends.

Always listen to your body. The phrase “no pain, no gain” is not accurate, especially for a weekend warrior. If you feel any discomfort or soreness, and especially if you feel sharp or stabbing pain while doing any physical activity, STOP. This is your body telling you that it’s had enough. Pushing through the pain can cause injury.

If you do experience severe pain or become injured, the best method is to follow the R.I.C.E. principal. Rest the injured area, Ice the area for 10-15 minutes throughout the day, apply Compression to the area and Elevate above the heart to prevent and decrease swelling. Of course, if pain persists, always see your doctor as they can evaluate the extent of the injury and advise you on the best course of action to relieve your pain and prevent long term consequences.