Got your health and fitness routine nailed squarely on the head? Great! Let’s hope those healthy habits haven’t been constantly undermined by unhealthy weekend behaviour.
Most of us have the inclination to reward ourselves for sticking to our health routines five continuous days a week. When the weekend rolls in, we use this as our excuse to let our hair down a little (or a lot!) where our health is concerned. Besides, we’ve earned it from staying so “good” all week, right?
Wrong. Splurging on calories, less rest, and social bad habits like smoking are weekend “rewards” that could cost you your disciplined weekday health efforts in the long run.
Going Off Track with Your Diet
With a habitual “just-for-the-weekend” mindset, indulgences on a huge slice (or two) of “Death by Chocolate” or a gargantuan bag of chips while movie binge-ing, shouldn’t bring good news from your weighing scale come Monday. Of course, you will be trying to fry off those offending new pounds during the week but this chronic little yo-yoing can eventually catch up with some creeping pounds by the end of the year.
For a year, researchers at the Washington University tracked body weight of 48 adults between the ages of 50 and 60. The subjects were divided into three groups: the first group was meted a daily calorie restriction of 20 percent; the second was told to increase their exercise daily by 20 percent; and the third, the control group, was not required to make any changes in their diet or exercise regimens.
The study revealed that all three groups tended to eat more from Friday to Sunday. Although some lost weight when the work week started, not all of the poundage was lost. By the end of the year, an average of nine pounds was gained by all three groups. The calorie-restricted group did not lose any weight during the weekends while the exercise group racked up even more poundage despite their added movements.
Giving in to a bit of a treat once in a while will not sabotage your weight loss or maintenance. When the treats become a weekend pattern, however, your healthful weekday diet routine could eventually be all for naught.
You do need your gadgets for work these days but oftentimes, people devote more hours on their screens on weekends for entertainment and catching up on other interesting stuff.
Listening to music, podcasts, and videos with headphones or earbuds are usually done at high decibels. The prolonged and repetitive exposure to loud sounds, even only on weekends, can age listening abilities of young ears so much as to match the low hearing capabilities of late middle-aged ears.
Your eyes may have had enough of screen time during work week; but, you may be requiring them to work more during weekends, what with movie marathons like Game of Thrones beckoning. Too much screen staring puts a lot of strain on the eyes. Screens emit blue light which dries eyes out and blurs vision. This light also makes one develop insomnia or restlessness at night as it somehow affects one’s hormones.
Oversleeping or Undersleeping
Many people look to the weekend as the time to get those extra forty winks and more. Snoozing way past your usual wake schedule is a common health error. Not only does this encourage sleeping way past your bedtime, presumably because of gadget binge-ing or weekend partying, but it also disrupts your circadian rhythm which needs to be set up to rights again, come Monday.
On the other hand, some people tend to cram more activities over the weekend to make the most of leisure or errand time so they end up getting less sleep. Weekend sleep deprivation also disrupts one’s circadian rhythm. Over time, such disruptions can cause sleep disorders which can lead to unhealthy repercussions, anywhere from weight gain to immune system deterioration.
Excessive Social Drinking and Social Smoking
A wineglass over dinner won’t hurt; but if you’ve imbibed those cocktails from the start of the afternoon barbeque…tsk, tsk. Add those cigarettes that go oh so well with a drink in hand and you’ve got a lot going for you if you wish to sabotage your carefully managed health endeavours. If cigarettes and alcohol have become part of your weekend rituals, you certainly aren’t on the path to healthy living despite strictly making up for it during the weekdays.
Weekly alcohol binges could lead to weight gain, decrease in your muscle building capabilities, and put undue stress on your liver, among numerous health issues. Light or intermittent smoking, although better than regular heavy smoking, still pose health risks. Social smoking has been linked to cardiovascular disease; cancer of the lungs, oesophagus, stomach, and pancreas; decreased bone density; and cataracts.
Donning the Weekend Warrior Gear
If you delegate strenuous exercise or physical activity only for the weekends, you are bound to set yourself up for some potential injuries. Sudden workouts shock the muscles and skeletal system that have been sedentary most of the week. Placing undue stress on the body is not healthy behaviour.
Spreading out an exercise regimen over the week is the safer and healthier way to go. This way, you can improve your flexibility, strength, and endurance while building muscle recuperation in between workouts.
In an Nutshell
Don’t use bad weekend habits to reward all the hard healthy discipline you have imposed on yourself five days a week. Being healthy is not just a weekday undertaking as work is. Being healthy is a 24/7 endeavour, a lifestyle. But then as you have to live a bit, a little controlled indulgence from time to time (a wee slice of cake; 30 strict minutes of more game time) won’t hurt. Just don’t turn occasional indulgences into weekend perks.