FITNESS

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TEN TIPS FOR BEGINNING WEIGHT LIFTERS

by Aaron Dorksen

Strength training with weights can help people of just about any age, from teenagers to people in their 80s and older. There are even some 100-plusers who appreciate the benefits of light arm curls and leg lifts.

Recently, my mother-in-law, who is in her 60s, was diagnosed with early stage osteoporosis.  Her doctor suggested she begin a controlled weightlifting program to strengthen her muscles.

When people think of weightlifting, they often picture the hulks on the covers of muscle magazines, or mammoth football players who look like they could lift a small car out of a snow drift. But the truth is that weightlifting benefits people of all ages, men and women alike.

If you’re interested in weightlifting but you aren’t sure how to get started, here are ten basic tips you should know:

* Before starting a weightlifting program, or any new fitness regimen for that matter, check with your doctor. A doctor can help decide if you face any risks or need to make modifications for your health and safety.

* Talk to a trainer or do a little basic research on your own to find a beginner’s program that fits your goals.

* As you begin, remember to focus on using the proper form rather than trying to lift the most weight you can.  Proper form is important because if you’re doing your exercises wrong there’s a greater risk of injury.

* Make sure you can do 12-15 repetitions of an exercise several workouts in a row before you increase the weight you’re lifting.

* Remember that diet is just as important as the effort you put into strength training. You will make the biggest strides if a healthy diet is combined with a sensible weightlifting program.

* If you work out at a gym, don’t be intimidated by other weightlifters. We all start somewhere and we all face adversity from time to time. Work hard, do your best, and observe the basic courtesies (wipe down equipment after you use it, wait your turn, don’t laugh at the guy next to you . . . ) and you’ll feel just as worthy of being there as the next guy or gal.

* Find a workout partner if at all possible. Workout buddies give each other added motivation and encouragement.

* Write down your workout records in a log book. This will help you chart progress, set goals and provide motivation.

* Remember to schedule at least one or two off days during the week as recovery time is crucial to strengthening and/or building muscle.

* Finally, don’t give up. Stick with it and you will see results in no time. A strong, well-toned body will help you feel years younger.

To read more of At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blogs, go http://www.athomefitness.com

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