Bodybuilding can be harmful when done carelessly.
The aim of bodybuilding is to substantially increase muscle mass through exercise, usually through weightlifting. The sport allows many fitness aficionados to develop the Olympian physique of their dreams, and can be a healthy activity that promotes strong bones and muscles. Like any physical activity, bodybuilding comes with inherent risks and dangers that can be minimized by taking proper precautions.
Overzealous bodybuilders run the risk of lifting more than they can safely handle, straining or tearing the muscles. Even more dangerous, a bodybuilder may drop the weight back onto himself or another person, causing severe injury. It is crucial that bodybuilders use a spotter when lifting heavy weights. A spotter is a person who will assist if the bodybuilder is unable to finish a repetition. Only ask someone to spot you if she is strong enough to handle the weights and is familiar with weightlifting techniques.
Yale New Haven Hospital warns that lifting more than half your body weight can put you at risk for sudden death if you have an aneurysm, an enlargement of the main artery of the heart. They recommend screening for heart irregularities before starting a weightlifting program, as the condition is often undiagnosed. This is especially important for individuals older than 60 and those who have a family history of aneurysms or dissection. Otherwise healthy young athletes may have the condition, unwittingly putting themselves at risk.
Shake Fakes and Hormone Horrors
Bodybuilders often turn to protein supplements, such as protein powder and pills, in order to beef up their muscles. Though this may bring short-term benefits, there are long-term risks with excessive protein consumption. These risks include an increased risk of osteoporosis, or degeneration of the bones, and a worsening of pre-existing kidney problems according to the UK's National Health Center. Eating protein-rich foods is preferable to taking protein supplements, which don't contain additional nutrients.
Minimize bodybuilding dangers by following safe exercise precautions. Always warm up and cool down for five to 10 minutes with mild exercise such as walking or stretching. Slowly increase the amount of weight you lift or the number of repetitions you do to allow your body to naturally get stronger and progress. Harvard Medical School recommends exhaling as you lift, push or pull wait and inhaling as you release weight. Always say no to illegal performance-enhancing drugs, which are often used in the professional bodybuilding world.