Question:I am a 50-year-old male in pretty good shape. I would like to start a weight-training program at home. About five years ago, I had a motorcycle accident and hurt my shoulder. No treatment was necessary, and I gradually got better. I still have some shoulder pain off and on, but it doesn't keep me from doing what I want to do. Should I have some kind of formal testing done on my shoulder before starting with weights? I don't want to wind up with an injury.
You are wise to be cautious about starting such an exercise program. Previous injuries and unknown conditions can show up suddenly with the start of a weight-lifting program. This is especially true for adults over 40 years of age. Make an appointment with your doctor for a physical examination. Your doctor can check your readiness for this type of program.
Besides checking your shoulder, the doctor will evaluate you for any possible heart or blood vessel problems. Family history and past medical problems can identify potential areas of concern. In the case of a new weight-lifting program for anyone over 40, the doctor will also rule out the presence of aneurysms.
Aneurysms are areas in the blood vessels that get thin and can burst, causing bleeding and even death. Aneurysms can occur anywhere in the body, but most are located just below the kidneys. Improper weight-lifting techniques, like forcefully holding your breath, can result in a ruptured aneurysm.
When you are cleared medically, ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist. The therapist will teach you proper lifting techniques and prescribe the right program for you. This will help you avoid muscle and joint injuries.
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