The first question I hear you ask:
What is a Weekend Warrior?
Generally, this expression is used to describe people who do very little exercise or physical activity during the week and then go out on an occasional weekend and play sports like squash or beach volleyball intensely or they decide to try out some treadmills in the gym to see if they “still got it”.
Most of the time, they are left with a very sore body the next day or worse, an injury!
Why are they sore?
Their bodies are not conditioned or used to handling the demands of that intense game they had on the weekend. It is often the case of the mind is willing, but the body is weak.
They then suffer delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
This is a very common condition for a weekend warrior. It will probably happen time after time unless our hero starts to exercise more regularly and his body gets stronger and more conditioned to handle the impact that sports have on his body.
Injuries are common for weekend warriors. Some injuries are minor such as a pulled muscle but some can be way more serious such as a muscle or ligament tear. However, the risk of injury increases especially as our athletic hero ages and his levels of immobility rises.
How does this affect dogs?
Unfortunately, very many human weekend warriors have dogs and their dogs are subject to a similar fate. These dogs are susceptible to the same resulting injuries or conditions such as delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS).
Actually, most dogs are naturally amazing athletes!
They prefer to be active and busy than just laying around.
Unfortunately, their activity is often constrained by their environment or families. Many families or owners have a busy work life, leaving little time for sufficient training or exercise for their dogs during the week.
Come to the weekend and our human guilt sets in. Many people will try to make up for the quiet week by doing everything with their dog in one day. The dog is run ragged by ball games, hikes, park runs and other activities.
The dog ends up with the same outcome as his human: sore, stiff body and hopefully that injury will heal okay.
The only difference is that the dog can not complain about how sore his legs are or how he tweaked his shoulder catching that ball in the air.
They can’t walk into the kitchen and grab a painkiller to ease their body.
In the end, the weekend warrior dog will lie quietly and will wag his tail just to be with you and have a good fun day. Ultimately he will risk discomfort, pain and possibly injury if he is not suitably conditioned and fit enough to enjoy the weekends with you.
Of course, this risk only increases as your dog starts to age (faster than you). Their bodies will get sore and they will get injured.
How Can You Avoid Having A Canine Weekend Warrior?
You have two choices.
1. Exercise your dog
Exercise your dog most days, even if it is a little at a time.
Get yourself an awesome program that is age, body condition or sports appropriate.
Make sure your program is balanced with some cardio, flexibility, balance and strength exercises. Includes some relaxing, slow walks as well as some sprints for fun. These types of activities make sure your dog’s muscles, soft tissues and skeleton are placed under some pressure to activate a growth and strength response.
This will help condition your dog’s body to withstand the stresses of active weekends.
2. Cannot exercise your dog
If you cannot exercise your dog during the week, you have to limit your weekend activity to a lower intensity.
Shorter weekend activity durations and less exertion are what would be required.
This, you will agree, is not the best choice.
It is preparing your dog’s body for minimal exercise. He will not be able to cope with any stresses placed on his body.
The dangerous thing about this is not only the higher risk of incurring an injury, but in order to recover from that injury or even from an illness, also places stress on the body.
This means that your dog will struggle to recover should he become ill for whatever reason.
The consequences are worse for the older dog.
The older dog will start to struggle with even the normal functional requirements of enjoyable life.
His muscles will struggle to let him go to the bathroom easily or simply get up off the floor to greet you when you come home.
So go with the first choice!
By simply doing even just a little bit of exercise each day, you will help to prevent discomfort and injury in the long term and definitely create a happier dog right now!
Need help with designing an exercise program that does not use up your whole day, please contact me at The Biokinetic K-9 today.
Your dog will love you for it!