Weightlifting not only makes us feel better but early research has shown significant gains in physical capacity as well as an improved lacrosse performance.

Researchers found that players had greater ability for short bursts of power—to run down that small little rubber ball, and long handled stick called a Crosse or lacrosse stick. In turn, body fat had decreased for improved muscle mass, grip strength improved for some, forehand stroke speed improved with an increased velocity.

Weight training is also beneficial for maintaining bone density which decreases one's risk for osteoporosis (brittle bones) with age or injury.

There are, however, precautions to take when starting a weightlifting program—especially if one has tight muscles and joints. It is always important to do some stretching exercises before you begin and then start with a lighter weight, slowly building up to a heavier weight.

The weight training program should be at least 20-to-30 minutes two or three times per week for improved results and do not expect them for at least a few months.

The program should encompass an entire body workout including leg presses, bench presses, shoulder press, dumbbell raises, arm pull downs, pull-ups and calf, back, arm and wrist curls.

Proper shoe gear and cleat design is important for maximum performance; and if there are any biomechanical foot imbalances, a corrected orthotic insert should be used. Always practice safety when weight training by having an instructor or spotter nearby.

Most important, always keep a positive attitude and increase in moderation.

Dr.Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery, he was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathons & has a practice in Darien, affiliated with Stamford Hospital and member of Stamford Health Medical Group-Foot & Ankle Institute, and resides in Westport.

For info visit his Web site at www.stamfordhealthmedicalgroup.org