Support for the Weekend Warrior
For a long time it was believed (and we were told) that exercise or activity only a couple of days a week wasn’t good enough to truly impact health; that being a “weekend warrior” had high risk and no benefit. Well, a 2017 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine received a lot of media attention and put that myth to rest. In fact, weekend warriors who performed 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity during only 1 or 2 sessions per week (the weekend) had almost the same health outcomes as the consistent exercisers and had much better outcomes than the people in the study who did not exercise at all. Moderate intensity exercise is classified as brisk walking and vigorous exercise would be running or something similar.
So is there a downside to being a weekend warrior and packing tons of exercise and activity into just two days? Yes, being a weekend warrior can be hard on the body, and there is an increased risk of injury. Inflammation from occasional overuse and overexertion is a weekend warrior’s worst enemy. As any warrior will tell you, what you don’t feel on Saturday you might feel on Sunday! That’s where dietary supplements can come in handy. Here are some key supplements to consider recommending to your weekend warrior patients.
Curcumin. This extract from the spice turmeric has become a popular foundational supplement for many integrative practitioners. Several studies show that curcumin can help support muscles and joints, and is especially helpful for addressing pain and inflammation resulting from occasional overexertion.*
Boswellia. A 2018 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in the journal BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine showed that curcumin with boswellia supported joint health better than curcumin alone or placebo.* It’s common now to find products combining both boswellia and curcumin, as their active ingredients are complementary and synergistic.
Systemic Enzymes. When taken orally on an empty stomach, these enzymes are primarily absorbed in the small intestine where they enter body fluids and tissues. Clinical research and a long history of use has shown that proteolytic enzymes support muscle recovery after overexertion.* A 2009 study published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition demonstrated efficacy with a product that contained proteolytic enzymes combined with curcumin.* A 2004 study published in the Journal of Sports Science demonstrated that proteolytic enzymes reduced muscle soreness after downhill running.* Another randomized, two-stage, double-blind, placebo-controlled study where the researchers gave systemic enzymes before and after exhaustive exercise demonstrated significant favorable effects on biomarkers of inflammation.* That study was published in the journal BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine in 2017.
Homeopathic formulas. There are many homeopathic formulas that can address occasional pain from overexertion, which definitely describes the weekend warrior. These products are available orally or topically and often contain the ingredient arnica.†
In addition to support from targeted dietary supplements, warriors should be advised to do at least 10 minutes of stretching before and after their activities, as well as staying well hydrated throughout the entire week.
When supported properly, being a weekend warrior isn’t all bad. Some supplements help support a healthy inflammatory response, and when taken daily, keep your patients in tip-top shape and ready to take on the weekend!*
Haroyan A, Mukuchyan V, Mkrtchyan N, et al. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 2018;18:7.
Marzin T, Lorkowski G, Reule C, et al. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine. 2017;2(1).
O’Donovan G, Lee I, Hamer M, et al. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2017;177(3):335-342.
Pumpa KL, Fallon KE, Bensoussan A, Papalia S. European Journal of Sport Science. 2014;14(3).
Zhang Z, Leong DJ, Xu L, et al. Arthritis Research & Therapy. 2016;18:128.
†Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.