A lot of people think that if they start lifting weights, they’re going to ruin their joints. But actually, research shows the opposite. Lots of studies have shown that weightlifting and strength training help improve the strength of our joints, as well as our muscles and bones. In the long term, weightlifting can lead to less pain, even if you have arthritis. Some soreness is normal, but overall, weightlifting has a positive impact, as long as you’re using the correct methods to get the most out of the exercise.

Why Do My Joints Hurt When I Lift?

Many people wonder if weightlifting can lead to arthritis. The answer is no. A person might then ask why their joints hurt after exercising. The answer to that question is more complicated since there are several reasons someone might have sore joints after working out.

There are two main reasons why you might experience lower back pain when lifting weights. These are either because you are attempting to lift too much weight, or because you are using incorrect form.

Too Much Weight

While working out, it is important to listen to your body. Discomfort is a sign that something is wrong. If you feel joint pain after exercising, check how much weight you are lifting. You might be trying to lift too much. Although it may be tempting to see how much weight you can lift, too much pressure on your muscles and joints can cause pain later. You could also end up damaging your muscles.

If you use more complex lifting methods, you’re more likely to get hurt if you try to lift too much. For example, when you try to lift a heavy weight over your head, you may lose your balance and hurt yourself badly.

Incorrect Form

Lifting weights correctly is important to avoid injury. Even a small change in position can cause problems. If you are new to strength training, it is a good idea to get help from a professional. Everyone is different, so a small change in position may help. But, it is easy to injure yourself if you are not careful.

Does Weightlifting Cause Joint Problems?

There are nearly 15 million adults in the United States who experience joint pain because of arthritis. This pain can make it difficult to do everyday activities, can cause muscle weakness and fatigue, and can seem to be made worse by exercise. However, doctors actually recommend weightlifting as a way to help manage the pain. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people with arthritis should do strength training activities at least twice a week. When your joints aren’t sliding around as much, you’re likely to notice:

  • Decreased pain and swelling
  • Increased mobility
  • Decreased bone loss

This means that you can reduce the symptoms by lifting weights.

How Do I Avoid Joint Injuries When Lifting?

It is important to lift weights the correct way to avoid sore joints after a workout. There are some things you should do and some things you should not do to make sure you get the most from your workout without risking injury.

Pre-stretching is important to avoid injury. Increasing your body temperature and then stretching your muscles will help them to be more limber and reduce the risk of swelling.

When you feel yourself getting tired after a workout, it’s a good idea to stop. Pushing yourself harder only increases the likelihood of joint injury.

Make sure to take breaks and rest when your body needs it, especially after working out. Overworking the same muscles by exercising them every day can lead to injuries. To avoid this, vary your routine by working out different muscle groups on different days, or do full-body workouts two or three times a week. This will give your body the time it needs to recover between workouts.

Avoid rushing when you lift weights by moving slowly and deliberately. This will help reduce pressure on your joints and prevent injuries. Pay attention to how your body is moving as you lift.

Pay attention to your body when it tells you something is wrong and take measures to fix the problem. Don’t push through the pain, as this could make the injury worse and result in a longer recovery time.

Don’t gorge yourself on food: A lot of people think that as long as they exercise, they can eat whatever they want. However, what you eat has a direct effect on the health of your joints and muscles. Strength training can put your joints at a higher risk of inflammation, and eating the wrong foods will only make that worse. Instead, go for foods that are healthy, which will help reduce the risk of inflammation in your joints.

Approximately 8.6 million people report some injuries resulting from sports every year, with weightlifting being one of the most common sports that results in injuries. The spine, shoulder, and knees are the three most common parts that get injured from weightlifting.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Weightlifting on My Joints?

Weightlifting and joint pain often go together because many people incorrectly believe that exercise causes discomfort. We have now learned that the opposite is actually true, and that weightlifting can help reduce or even prevent joint pain, even for people who suffer from conditions like arthritis.

Strength training will build and strengthen your muscles, including those surrounding your joints. This will allow you to become stronger overall and prevent your joints from deteriorating. Regular use of your joints will actually make them healthier and more functional for longer.

The benefits of weightlifting are only possible if you practice correctly to avoid injury. The body has many moving parts that need to work together correctly for you to benefit from the exercise. Understanding your body and its unique differences is essential.

Most people are not symmetrical, so the weightlifting workouts must take that into account.

Weightlifting, when done correctly and on a regular basis, can lead to long-term pain relief and increased strength.

Connection Between Arthritis and Weightlifting

Arthritis is a condition characterized by pain and swelling in one or more joints. The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, typically occurs with age as the cartilage protecting the bones begins to wear away. When cartilage wears away, bone rubs against bone, which can be painful. The pain associated with arthritis can fluctuate over time, depending on the cause of the condition and its progression. There has been much debate about the impact of weightlifting on the human body, and whether weightlifting can lead to arthritis later in life. The answer is that weightlifting itself does not cause arthritis. However, the way in which you lift weights can affect how you feel. Some factors seem to link weightlifting and joint pain.

If you lift weights regularly, you have probably built up a lot of muscle, and muscle weighs more than other types of tissue. This extra weight can make your joints hurt more. Keeping your weight at a healthy level is the best way to reduce joint pain. If you are not sure what a healthy weight is for you, ask your doctor.

Weightlifters have a higher risk of injury than other athletes because they are constantly lifting heavy weights. This puts a lot of strain on their muscles and joints, which can lead to arthritis later in life. However, this is not a given, and weightlifters can avoid this by using proper form and being careful while lifting.

While weightlifters may not always do things correctly, this does not mean that the sport is any more dangerous than any other form of exercise. If incorrect form is used or too much weight is lifted, over time this can lead to joint injuries. However, when strength training exercises are done correctly, they should not cause any discomfort or injury.

Benefits of Strength Training For Joints

The text says that weightlifting has a bad reputation among people with arthritis, but argues that it can actually be helpful for managing pain. Some of the benefits of weightlifting for people with arthritis include:

  1. Reduces Joint Pain. Lifting weights has been found to reduce the pain associated with arthritis by approximately 35 percent. If you’re living in pain every day, that number alone should be enough to get you up and out the door. Movement and strengthening exercises help to loosen up those achy joints and get you feeling more like yourself. And that’s not just for those suffering from osteoarthritis. Research has also shown that exercise goes a long way in reducing discomfort for adults suffering from inflammatory arthritis conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  2. Strengthens the Muscles Surrounding Joints. The reason that lifting weights does such an excellent job of reducing pain levels in the joints is because its primary purpose is to strengthen the muscles in the body. When you focus on strengthening the muscles that are directly connected to the joints that are causing pain and discomfort, those muscles become stronger and can function at their full capacity. One study found that individuals who engaged in regular strength training exercises saw a 33 percent increase in muscle strength and function. When your muscle function is improved, you’ll notice a decrease in pain and greater mobility.
  3. Weight Loss. In some cases, lifting weights may help you lose the extra pounds that may be contributing to your pain and discomfort. Aerobic workouts are great for improving heart health and burning calories. Strength training is where you’re going to start seeing the numbers on the scale slide backward. And when you’re suffering from painful joints, every pound lost is a step toward pain reduction. Why? For every extra pound of weight, your body carries around, four additional pounds of pressure are placed on your knees. If you’re 10 pounds overweight, then you’re putting 40 extra pounds of pressure on your knees. If you’re twenty pounds overweight, 80 extra pounds are pressing on your knees.
  4. Prevention of Pain. Even if you aren’t experiencing severe joint pain, weightlifting is an excellent preventative measure to protect the health of your joints. Besides helping with weight management, it strengthens and maintains the health of your muscles and mobility of your joints, preventing problems later on.
  5. Improved Mental Health. Any physical activity is going to produce endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that your body uses to boost your mood, as well as your energy levels and outlook on life. When you feel happier, you’re more motivated to keep moving, one of the best things you can do to reduce joint pain. Although there’s no cure for arthritis, staying positive and active can also go a long way toward preventing feelings of loss or depression in response to your condition. Take the opportunity to start a new fitness regimen and keep yourself engaged in the process by setting goals and celebrating each milestone you reach — even the small ones.

 

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Rhoda is an award-winning dietitian, mature age model, and CEO of Sayvana Women.  

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