By keeping your bones strong, you can lower your risk for osteoporosis and prevent fractures.
Before you start any exercise program, you should talk to your doctor first. If you’ve never lifted weights before, consider taking a class or working with a certified athletic trainer. Proper form helps you get the most out of each exercise without putting yourself at risk for an injury.
If you’re working with a trainer, the first step will be to assess your strength. Using weights that are too heavy is dangerous while lifting weights that are too light won’t offer much benefit.
Follow these tips from the National Institute on Aging to reduce your injury risk while strength-training:
- Breathe when you exercise! Breathe out as you lift or push, and breathe in as you relax. If you’re doing leg lifts, for example, breathe out as you lift your leg, and breathe in as you lower it.
- Use smooth, steady movements to lift weights into position. Don’t jerk or thrust weights.
- Keep arm and leg joints slightly bent. Avoid “locking” your arm and leg joints in a tightly straight position.
- Take 3 seconds to lift or push weight into place, hold the position for 1 second, and then take another 3 seconds to return to your starting position. Control the movement, and don’t let the weights drop.
- If it’s difficult to hold hand weights properly, try using wrist weights.
- If you are starting an exercise program or your arms feel tired after several repetitions, complete the exercise by using one arm at a time. Alternate sides, and then work your way up to using both arms at the same time.
- A steady rate of progress is the best approach. Over-exercising can cause injury.
- Challenge yourself, but listen to your body, and use common sense when you exercise.
Remember, it’s OK to feel some soreness but exercise should never cause severe muscle pain.
+ Virginia Orthopaedic and Spine Specialists, in conjunction with Bon Secours Hampton Roads, offers a full continuum of orthopaedic sports performance care that includes the most up-to-date equipment for treatment in Hampton Roads. Our state-of-the-art rehabilitation centers feature new innovations in sports medicine.