Lifting weights has many health benefits, including faster weight loss, improved balance, stronger bones, and reduced risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis. It can also be a great way to tone your muscles, reshape your body and achieve the look you have always wanted.

Of course, if you want to make weight lifting a regular part of your workout regime, you need to know how to avoid injury. The following tips, detailed by Toronto fitness trainer Gabriel Patterson, should help you avoid any problems:

Always Warm-Up and Cool Down

Warming up helps to stretch your muscles out in preparation for the upcoming stress of a weight workout. Some of the best exercises to incorporate into your warmup include jumping jacks, lunges, hip rotations, and push-ups.

Once you are just about finished lifting weights, you will then need to cool down. An active cool-down involves reducing the intensity of your workout toward the end and stretching out your muscles to allow them to recover more quickly. Neglecting to warm up or cool down can make you quite a bit more susceptible to injury and is likely to make your post-workout recovery more complicated than necessary.

Don’t Do Too Much Too Soon

If you have just started lifting weights, avoid working out for too long or using weights that are too heavy. Since your body is not conditioned yet to lifting weights, you are likely to end up tearing muscles and ligaments if you attempt to overexert yourself in this manner. For the first few days or weeks of your weight lifting regime, use light weights and don’t work out for too long. Once you begin to feel like your body is ready for more, you can gradually increase the intensity of your workout.

Take Regular Rest Days

Generally speaking, your muscles need at least 24 hours to recover from an intense workout session. Working out every day, primarily if your body is not used to it, only serves to increase your chances of sustaining an injury. Unless you are a competition level weightlifter, it is usually a good idea to take at least a day off between workout sessions to give your muscles enough time to recover properly.

In Conclusion

Lifting weights is a great way to lose weight, build muscle, and improve your overall fitness levels. If you would like to introduce weights into your workout routine, but want to minimize your risk of injury, follow Gabriel Patterson’s tips outlined above. You’ll be a weightlifting pro in no time.