The Weekend Warrior’s Secret Weapon
With longer work days and increased work pressures, it can be difficult to find time to exercise throughout a busy work week. And it’s pretty normal to look forward to an active fun-filled weekend. After all, that’s what inspired the famous acronym TGIF. But when some people are inactive during the week and then too active on the weekend, it can cause problems. All that pent-up energy and increased activity on the weekend can result in increased risk of injury.
Whether it’s a sprained ankle or a pulled muscle, weekend warrior injuries have one thing in common—inflammation. But there are a few things “weekend warriors” can do, to support a healthy inflammatory response all week long.
First, a whole-foods, unprocessed, anti-inflammatory diet, (like the Mediterranean Diet, full of antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds) is the best way to support a healthy immune system and a healthy inflammatory response. Fish, because of its’ omega 3 content, is an important aspect of the Mediterranean diet, and one of the reasons it’s so healthy.
But let’s face it…we don’t live in Italy or Greece, and we can still fall victim to some of the bad habits of North American eating…like too many sweets and unhealthy snacks. In addition, it’s hard to get good fish in many parts of the country. Finally, some people are concerned about contaminants in fish, and limit their consumption. These are just some of the reasons Americans don’t typically get enough omega-3 fatty acids to meet their needs.
To supplement an imperfect diet, most people turn to fish oil to get adequate omega-3, specifically EPA and DHA. Fish oil is a weekend warrior’s secret weapon because it supports the immune system, and healthy inflammation on an ongoing basis.*
Exercise can be hard on the body as it increases the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and is basically an inflammatory event. While exercise is health-promoting, the actual activity itself creates inflammation.
Several double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have shown that EPA and DHA specifically help support muscle mass, muscle strength and muscle health in general related to exercise.* In addition, overexertion can weaken immunity. The good news is research shows that fish oil helps support the immune system, while supporting cardiovascular function as well.*
According to the authors of a 2019 review looking at omega-3 fatty acids and exercise published in the journal Nutrients, “Exercise activates multiple molecular and biochemical pathways…and there are increasing data points indicating that these are sensitive to nutritional influences.” And that includes EPA and DHA.
Taking a fish oil supplement on a daily basis keeps omega-3 fatty acids at adequate levels in the body, even if your diet is less than pristine, and proactively supports muscles, joints, and many other body systems at the cellular level.* It should be considered a foundational dietary supplement, especially. for weekend warriors.
Black KE, Witard OC, Baker D, et al. European Journal of Sport Science. 2018;18(10):1357-1367.
Gammone MA, Riccioni G, Parrinello G, D’Orazio N. Nutrients. 2019;11(1):46.
Ochi E, Yanagimoto K, Morishima T, Tsuchiya Y. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2019;38(2):125-131.
Tsuchiya Y, Yanagimoto K, Nakazato K, et al. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2016;116(6):1179-88.
Tsuchiya Y, Yanagimoto K, Ueda H, Ochi E. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2019;16(1):19.