Weight training plays an important role in keeping your body fit and healthy. It’s a great way for people with bleeding disorders to strengthen muscles and joints and by doing so, reduce the frequency and severity of bleeds. We spoke with Michael Zolotnitsky, Doctor of Physical Therapy, about the benefits of weight training and his advice on keeping fit while living with a bleeding disorder.
After getting many joint bleeds as a child, Michael changed his lifestyle by focusing on making his body stronger by working out on a daily basis. He believes that his physical fitness has prevented him from getting any severe joint bleeds in the past decade. Through muscle building, burning fat and developing strong bones, weight training is a simple and efficient way to manage chronic disorders such as hemophilia by making your body the healthiest it can be.
If you’re not sure how to go about building a workout routine, there are plenty of places to find exercises in books, online and from friends or acquaintances that train. Michael suggests focusing on two body parts each day, one larger and one smaller. For instance, work out your back (larger) and biceps (smaller) or your chest (larger) and triceps (smaller). Then the next day, focus on two different muscle groups. As for the length of the workout, he suggests doing a minimum of three sets of 10-15 repetitions (reps) or do 5-7 sets of decreasing numbers of reps: 1 set of 15, 3 sets of 12, 4 sets of 10, and so on. Remember to always focus on good form! Here Michael demonstrates the proper way to exercise your mid back and the back of your shoulders.
|Begin: Upright posture, arms crossed holding the cables and keep the elbows straight
End: bringing your arms away from your chest until they are @ 90 degrees
Feel: In the mid back
|Begin: Dumbbells by groin with elbows straight and chin tucked
End: Bringing arms up like “Y” with elbow straight and slowly lower to original position
Feel: Back of shoulder
For people with bleeding disorders, Michael advises to start slowly to see how your body responds and build from there. Take at least one day of rest per week. If you don’t have access to a fitness center, you can do strength training by doing core exercises, push-ups or using a resistance band. Always check with your physician or physical therapist prior to beginning any physical activity.
In order to strengthen muscles and ligaments, it is crucial that you are getting the proper nutrition to support that growth. Always make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Focus on eating good carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potatoes and whole grains) and protein to aide in muscle recovery, says Michael. For a pre workout meal, he suggests eating oatmeal for some carbs that will give you energy but also keep you satiated. Post workout, replenish your body with plenty of vegetables and protein such as fish and eggs. If you don’t have time to prepare a meal, chocolate milk can give your body what it needs right after a workout: protein, carbs, sodium, sugar and water.
Learn more about what Michael has to say about weight training on the first of HFA’s Young Adults podcast series.