Thursday 18 January 2018

Siobhan Byrne: Exercising to prevent injuries

Strength training can really make a difference when it comes to bone density, says our fitness expert

Siobhan Byrne is an avid follower of strength training
Siobhan Byrne is an avid follower of strength training
Hip raise 1
Hip raise 2
Sumo squat 1
Sumo squat 2
Lying superman 1
Lying superman 2
Push up 1
Push up 2

Let's be honest, none of us can say we are getting any younger and with that come age-related problems, including arthritis.

Although originally associated with getting older and ageing, there are many factors that can speed up the onset of arthritis, including prior bad accidents or falls in which the bones have been affected. I'm no stranger to having had the odd bad spill and do worry that this may have an impact on my mobility as I get older.

No matter whether you are a man or woman deterioration of the muscles, bones and joints does not discriminate. Finding your body with reduced mobility is not necessarily a sign that you will get issues relating to core density or arthritis, but it does mean you look into ways to take care of your body, after all, we only have one to work with.

As most of you who read my column on a weekly basis will know, since the day I started strength training I have been an avid follower of this way of training. Bear in mind that I've been involved in many sports, which, although thoroughly enjoyed, left me with more injuries than I care to remember.

After six months of strength training I began to notice that I felt better, lost weight, helped to increase my bone density and, the best bit, I stopped injuring myself. I can't stress enough that if you strength train you will help to increase your bone density and help to build much needed muscle, which will otherwise deteriorate unless you do something about it. Later in life the loose skin around the back of the arms or top of the thighs, can actually be sagging muscle wasting away from lack of use.

Strength training, with the addition of good stretch work, has the power to make you feel fitter without putting extreme pressure on the joints and help you look more symmetrical, all the while aiding in the prevention of osteoarthritis by helping to maintain bone density.

If you have found other sports too be too high-impact, then maybe it's time for a change.

This week we have four great exercises to help start your strength training journey: the sumo squat, push-up, hip raise and lying superman.

Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times a week

Strength training

Sumo  squat

1/ Start by standing upright with your arms bent and your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.

2/ Lower yourself towards the floor, sending your hips back and down and bending your knees. Then push through your heels to return to the start position, keeping your back straight and head up throughout the exercise.

Push-up

1/ Start on your knees or toes with hands under the chest and back flat in plank position.

2/ Lower yourself to the ground and then back to start position. Keep the back flat throughout.

Hip raise

Hip raises are brilliant for engaging the glutes. Women often find it difficult to really engage the glutes even on deep squats, so this is a very effective exercise to do.

1/ Start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and feet placed flat on the floor and your arms by your side.

2/ Bridge your hips up to create a straight line and then lower back down towards the ground. Repeat.

Lying superman

1/ Lie face down on the floor with your legs straight and your arms stretched out overhead.

2/ Then raise your upper body and legs together, about 15 inches off the floor, hold briefly and then return to start position by lowering yourself back to the floor.

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