I was asked last week about the negative impact on your joints caused by lifting heavy weights. This person had been advised that heavy weights will wear out your joints and should be avoided.
This is completely 100% incorrect. Weight training, done safely and correctly, is THE BEST THING you can do for your joints. First, lets clarify what constitutes a 'joint'. Bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, meniscus (in the knee) and muscle. Always lots of muscles around and through the joint.
Here are 5 reasons why you want to lift heavy weights for your joints:
1) As your muscles strengthen, they will take over the role of supporting the skeleton, which takes the pressure off the other connective tissue.
2) Weight training is non-impact, meaning you can control the range and speed of the motion without the sudden forces applied by exercises such as running and sports.
3) As the muscles develop around a joint, and proper form is maintained in the motion of the joint, the muscles will hold the bones in place much better than loose/stretched ligaments and tendons. Often this means that clicks and cracks will disappear and the joint will operate smoother. Also this greatly reduces the risk of dislocations.
4) Lifting heavy weights will strengthen your bones to reduce the risk of breaks, fractures, osteoporosis and other bone diseases. As muscles pull on tendons, which pull on bones, new calcium is generated within the bones and bone density will increase. Cool huh!
5) Muscles are completely repairable. You can rip, tear or snap a muscle and it will grow back again. You cannot repair ligaments and tendons. Only lifting heavy weight builds muscle. Period.
Make sure you're getting the best advice when it comes to looking after your body and protecting your joints!