Tuesday, May 03, 2005


One thing about getting back into shape - not the "I've been in shape all my life stuff" - is that your body doesn't necessarily like the stress. You may be able to get into shape without injuries, but if you aren't read on. So as an out of shape Chicano here's my thoughts.

First of all know that I've the aerobics and Tai Chi route. It didn't do it for me. I've learned that after 25 - yes only 25! - your body starts losing muscle. Since fat is less dense than muscle your weight doesn't change for awhile even if your clothes start getting tighter. I also learned that muscle burns fat. Roughly 1 pound of muscle burns 5 pounds of fat per year! So I decided that adding muscle is a good thing. I also realized that a lot of the elders that look weak, its because of muscle loss.

Ok, back to injuries.

If you're lifting and you hurt something, don't listen to a doc who tells you to quit lifting altogether. If you hurt your arm, shoulder or wrist, you can do leg workouts. If you hurt your leg, knee or foot, you can still do upper body workouts. If you hurt your back its way trickier. Just depends on how bad and where exactly the injury is.**

You can also lift to prevent injuries or rehab yourself. For example, for rotator cuffs - if you're gonna bench press, you need health rotator cuffs! - You can exercise these by getting a dumbell and laying on your side. Put your upper arm along your body and put a 90 degree bend in the elbow. Then like a tennis swing move the dumbbell up and down - that's one repetition. (I'll talk about sets and weight at the bottom.) The opposite of that is to do something similar with the arm under you. It's good to switch everyonce in awhile to get all sides of the muscle and to reduce odds of repetitive strains. That's true on all exercises.

Working out various muscles that are part of your other exercises will keep you from getting injured.

Change part of your workout at least once a month, and the whole workout could change every three months and keep you from getting bored, allow you to work various muscles, and also keep you going on some exercises long enough to see the difference.

Sets and weights. I'm not an expert but I do know a little about what I'm doing here. This guy Charles Staley who developed the program I'm trying out (Escalating Densisty Training - EDT) talks about dealing with injuries.

Here's what I've done using what he talks about. When I got carpal tunnel I stopped doing upper body workouts. I took a couple of weeks off altogether, then I started doing wrist curls and reverse wrist curls with a 1 pound dumbbell. I did one set of 5 repetitions (reps) on Monday, then Tuesday 2, and so on until Friday, I did 5 sets of 5 reps. Took the weekend off, and the next Monday I did 5 sets of 6 reps, Tuesday 5 sets of 7, and 5 sets of 10 on Friday. Then I repeated the two week cycle with 2 pound dumbbells. I'm at the beginning of the 3 pound dumbbell rotation and in two weeks I'll go up again. Of course if doing this hurts you in any way you stop, let it heal, and go back to the beginning. It's better than trying to go to heavy and giving yourself something worse to worry about.

Stretching on days you don't lift helps also.

I'm doing something similar with upper body. My chiropractor said I could do upper body work again, so what I'm doing there is on the days I work out I'm doing very light upper body lifts as part of my warmup. So I'll do one set of 5 on Monday, 2 sets on Weds., and 3 sets on Friday. Then I'll go up very slightly next week and so on for the next three or four weeks when I start doing a full body program again.

Here's an article on EDT.

Amor, Rebeldia y Auto-Determinacion!

**By the way, nothing on this website is intended as medical advice and you need to take responsibility for your own health. That's what Self-Determination is all about.

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