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On dialysis? Weight training can help

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Strengthening the shoulder Military Press helps cricket, basketball and football players too.
Strengthening the shoulder Military Press helps cricket, basketball and football players too.

C. LAKSHMI KUMAR

EXERCISE Weight training improves quality of life in dialysis patients

Despite the greater awareness about fitness today, some outdated concepts are still around, raising doubts in the minds of the general public about exercise. One of the most enduring myths is that weight training is only for those who want a ‘cosmetic’ look.

This is sheer ignorance. As the Journal of American Society of Nephrology points out: “Weight training helps not just the ordinary people but also dialysis patients. Australian researchers found that weight training improved muscle strength and quality of life in test subjects. The subjects performed 2 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions on all their exercises for 12 weeks. No side effects or complications were reported, even as their lean body weight increased. Dialysis patients generally deteriorate owing to their disease and physical inactivity. This was offset by the training. Muscle wasting, which is one of the biggest causes of death in such patients, was effectively tackled by weight training.”

It is of course necessary to add that exercise in the proper way alone is safe and productive. Here are a few practical tips on how to do some of the exercises. Let’s take up the barbell shoulder press known as the ‘Military Press.’

Raise the barbell to chest level, holding it slightly wider than your shoulders. Keep your hips firm, elbows in, and without arching your back, press the bar arms’ length overhead and slowly return to the starting position. Do not lock your elbows at the top position. Don’t worry about the breathing sequence: experts say that the breathing will take care of itself and needs no special attention. (As a general rule, inhale while pressing the weight up and exhale while lowering it.)

Kinesiologist Michael Yessis, PhD., says that this movement strengthens the shoulder muscles, improves strength and sports performance, benefiting boxers, wrestlers, athletes, swimmers, cricket, football and basketball players. It works all the three regions (heads) of the deltoid (shoulder) muscle, known as the front, lateral and rear heads. The maximum emphasis is, however, on the front head.

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