If you're lifting weights at the gym to try and get stronger and leaner, you're on the right track. Resistance training is incredibly beneficial to the body, but it can also take a toll on your muscles and joints-- especially your feet, ankles, knees, and back. You might not think that these injuries come from your desk job, but you will be surprised to learn that the time you spend sitting at your desk has a huge impact on your performance at the gym Take the following steps to keep yourself on the path to better fitness, instead of becoming side tracked by an unexpected injury.
Your Posture Hurts Your Feet
The desk job and the amount of time you sit improperly will have an impact on your form in the weight room. Keeping you abs engaged and your shoulders back and down when you are at rest helps to prevent loss of muscle tone in this areas and also prevents muscle imbalances that will affect your lifting form, because your posture when you sit will affect your posture when you stand.
When you stand with rounded, slumped shoulders, you move your weight almost entirely onto the front of your feet. Because the heel and therefore the ankle are not firmly placed on the floor, they are under higher stress. This posture will follow you to the gym; you will have already stressed and weak joints from daily abuse, which can lead to a shaky foundation for lifting. If you lift with your weight pitched forward, you are more likely to twist or sprain the ankle.
You can also invest in workout shoes that have a low drop-- this means that the heel is not raised. Heavily cushioned running shoes are not appropriate for lifting. Your shoes should help you in your goals to distribute your weight evenly over your feet.
Sitting Is Bad For Your Back
Your feet are not the only area in danger of injury from consistent bad posture when sitting. Back injuries are common when people begin to lift weights, and the main reason is because their do not have sufficient core strength to support the body and the weight in proper form when performing a lift. Also, when you sit hunched over at your desk, the muscles, especially those in your lower back, will eventually tighten and become sore. Lifting with this tightness can cause a slipped disc or a pulled muscle.
You can prevent injury be actively stretching the back each day. You can also improve your back flexibility and train your core to support a flat back by doing wall sits at the gym during the course of your workout.
Don't Skip Your Lunges
Knee injuries are also quite common when lifting, and they usually occur because the knee is not strong enough to stabilize weakness that runs from hip joints through the ankle. Sitting down most of the time is also the culprit for knee injuries. In order to prevent knee injuries, you need to work on strengthening both hip and ankle joints so that the knee doesn't have to work overtime to stabilize the leg when lifting. Lunges are are the best exercise for strengthening your hips, knees, and ankles, because the movement engages all three in a way that daily living (sitting in an office or walking around) does not. If you incorporate cardio into your workout, try using the stair climber or doing some high-knee jogging to engage your muscles.
Remember that your lifestyle, not just your time at the gym, will help to keep you injury free when you workout. If you do suffer injury, contact a podiatric sports medicine professional in your area so that you can recover and retrain your body so the injury never returns.
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