Lifting weights is good for your body and fitness, right? Not always. If you lift weights regularly, you may be at risk for developing hemorrhoids. Straining, improper breathing, holding your breath and grunting all contribute to downward pressure that can cause hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels around the anus and rectum that become enlarged from straining, constipation, pregnancy, and yes, weightlifting. The exertion from lifting weights puts pressure on your abdomen and can either worsen existing hemorrhoids or create new hemorrhoids. The pressure that is created during a weightlifting workout is similar to the pressure your body creates when it is straining to have a bowel movement.
Not all weightlifters will develop hemorrhoids. If you use proper and safe techniques, you will not harm your body by lifting weights. One of your main goals is to not hold your breath and pushing straight down as you lift. Instead, take a big breath before lifting, then hold your breath and push the air in the direction of your throat as you lift.
Here are some other suggestions for safe and comfortable exercise:
- Stay hydrated during your workout.
- Wear clothing that will not irritate your skin or cause friction. This is especially important for endurance and high-repetition athletes.
- Eat a diet high in fiber to soften stools.
If you are suffering from hemorrhoids, take heart in the fact that there are many other activities that you may want to try. Just a few ideas are yoga, walking, low impact aerobics and swimming. While not a cardiovascular exercise, kegel exercises are essential for strengthening perineal muscles. Do something low impact until your hemorrhoids start to heal and enjoy being active in a new way (Source: Livestrong.com).