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[EDITOR'S NOTES]

Weight Training: Strength for Everyone

THE PHYSICIAN AND SPORTSMEDICINE - VOL 26 - NO. 3 - MARCH 98


In prehistoric times, competitive swimmers never lifted weights. The conventional wisdom was that weight training would make their muscles too bulky and would slow them down. This turned out to be untrue. Weight training made swimmers stronger and they moved through the water like trout.

Now, virtually all competitive athletes include weight workouts as part of their training. Equally important, the practice has spread to almost everyone who takes part in sports or wants to add strength, muscle tone, and the accompanying health benefits.

For complex social reasons, women have only recently begun to strength train in significant numbers. But now it's clear that women have a lot to gain from strength training, given their increased participation in sports and their high risk of osteoporosis. (Look for more on strength training for women in a subsequent issue.)

Older people of both genders benefit, too. Studies on 70-, 80-, and even 90-year-olds have shown that strength and probably mobility can be improved well into old age by training with light weights. Kids also like to weight train, but must be supervised so they don't get carried away by their enthusiasm and get injured.

That's the key to avoiding injury in most people—controlled enthusiasm. This means increasing frequency and weight load gradually—and establishing reasonable goals. Anybody can get injured using weights if they go hog-wild.

In this issue, Bryant Stamford, PhD, gives patients temperate guidelines and a starting program for weight training in our Exercise Adviser department, page 91. This article is a follow-up to his February article that advised patients on the pros and cons of free weights vs exercise machines and home programs vs gym-based programs. In addition, Drs Reeves, Laskowski, and Smith, on page 54, advise physicians about what to do when chronic injuries occur; this follows their February article on acute injuries in weight training. The information in these articles will help strengthen your practice as well as your patients.

Cordially,
Richard H. Strauss, MD
Editor-in-Chief


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