You don’t have to be a health nut or a fitness guru to reap the rewards of weightlifting. Weightlifting, even when done on an amateur level, can decrease body fat, reduce symptoms of depression, fight osteoporosis, lower your risk of diabetes, improve joint movement, increase heart health, reduce your risk of back pain, improve balance and increase your mental capacity, among countless other benefits. That said, if you go about weightlifting the wrong way, you risk joint pain or injury. Fortunately, you can prevent weight lifting injuries with a few simple tips.
The Dos of Weightlifting
Although lifting weights seems like a relatively easy sport, it actually requires a great deal of commitment, dedication and practice. If you are careless in your approach to weightlifting, you risk sustaining sprains, strains, dislocation and even arthritis. Keep the following tips in mind when you hit the gym to prevent injury:
- Stretch: Whether you’re about to lift steel or hit the treadmill for a three-mile jog, you should only do so after a good 10- to 20-minute stretch session. Stretching helps improve your range of motion around the joints, which can, in turn, reduce the risk of swelling and muscle deterioration.
- Curb Your Diet: Many people assume that if they work out, they can eat whatever they want. This is not the case. When you work out, your muscles and joints are at an increased risk of inflammation. You can reduce the risk of inflammation and joint injury by eating healthy foods.
- Work On Your Posture: When it comes to weightlifting, posture is everything. Poor sitting posture can result in tightened muscles and back pain. This is because your vertebral discs receive less blood flow. Open up your blood flow by sitting right.
The Don’ts of Weightlifting
In life, mistakes are learning lessons. In weightlifting, they could mean serious injury. You can avoid harmful mistakes by keeping the following in mind:
- Don’t Overdo It: If you’re tired, call it quits. Even if you did just a single set, your fatigue is your body’s way of telling you it’s done. If you push yourself through the fatigue and do more—you may end up causing an overload injury.
- Don’t Ignore Your Footwear: Just like with running, you need adequate footwear for weightlifting. Look for shoes that will protect your feet from injury should the weights fall and that provide good traction on slippery surfaces.
- Don’t Ignore Your Body: If an exercise causes you pain, stop. Although the “no pain, no gain” mentality is strong within the weightlifting world, if you fail to address your pain early on, it could lead to debilitating injuries in the future.
If you did sustain a joint injury during a weightlifting session, or if you live with chronic joint pain, talk to your doctor about possible treatment. Your doctor may also be able to advise you of techniques you can use to minimize injury and keep your joints, and your body, healthy regardless of your exercise of choice.
Dr. Larsen chose to become an orthopedic surgeon after growing up watching his father work in the same profession. He observed the love his father had for taking care of people and improving lives by fixing problems with their knees and shoulders. Dr. Larsen enjoys communicating with his patients and working together to find a solution, either through surgery or lifestyle changes.
“13 Benefits of Weightlifting That No One Tells You About.” LiveStrong. https://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1008208-13-benefits-weightlifting-one-tells/?slide=1
“10 Ways to Protect Your Joints.” Men’s Journal. https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/10-ways-protect-your-joints/