Preparing for (and surviving) Black Friday

by Joe Guettler, M.D.

The quarterback dives for the end zone to win the game with a last-minute touchdown to clinch the championship.  The collegiate basketball player leaps over his opponent to dunk the ball for an overtime win at the conference finals.  The Olympic sprinter lunges forward at the last second to break the ribbon and claim the gold medal.  The Black Friday Shopper rushes toward aisle six after standing in line for 45 minutes to claim the store’s best doorbuster deal.

What do all of these “athletes” have in common?  It’s quite simple – they all need to warm up before their “big win” moment.

Now, you  might not consider yourself a high level athlete when you take the minivan and sneak out to snag some deals on Friday morning, but I would contend that you need to think like an athlete to have ultimate success on Black Friday.

And that starts with preparation.  To a sports medicine doc, the best preparation involves good warm-up.  Whether you’re just getting started in the morning, or you’ve been standing in line for a while, you need to get – and stay – limber.

Simple stretches for your low back, quads, hamstrings, and calves should decrease your risk of a sprain or strain.  A little warm-up that includes jogging in place or jumping jacks will get the blood flowing and acclimate the muscles to the task at hand, further reducing your risk of injury, while also optimizing your performance.

Black Friday Shoppers – be fruitful in your pursuit of the ultimate deals, but also be safe!  A little preparation will ensure that you are not forced to sit at your computer on Cyber Monday with an icepack on your leg…

Here are a few extra tips from our Twitter followers. Leave a comment with additional advice you have.

  • @DeannaRoseWrite: Stay safe #BlackFriday shopping: Dress in layers, bring snacks & be patient while driving!
  • @freeismylife: Eat breakfast, wear comfy shoes, limit caffeine, don’t stress out
  • @breeglenn: Stay hydrated, rest when needed, don’t forget to eat.
  • @emilyahay SO imprtnt 2 not carry a big purse
  • ‏@Bargains2Bounty: Dress in layers. Wear comfy shoes. Don’t carry a large bag or purse. Shop with a friend.
  • Of course, you can always take @mbinkowski‘s advice and “Stay at home.”
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