There is little disagreement about how obesity is a definite problem facing people these days. Even in the shallowest possible sense – the stigma that usually accompanies being overweight – the problem can be clear. However, obesity’s true danger lies in the threat it poses to our health, especially over the long term. Thankfully, people are now recognizing how far this really goes, and are taking steps to become more educated and to make others more educated as well. This includes the need to make people more aware of what to do in their situation – because remaining complacent leads to chronic joint pain or worse. Read on to learn how to keep your joints healthy.
For example, obesity is a risk factor when it comes to various ailments. Obesity brings a person closer in terms of risk when it comes to hypertension and heart ailments, and even more serious matters like type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. On a less threatening but still quite problematic note, obesity is closely tied to joint ailments. Obesity and joint pain go hand in hand because our joints essentially function to move and support a person’s weight – consider what body parts must be working the hardest when you sit, stand, jump, climb stairs, and so on – and more weight means more stress on the joints.
Of course, one of the main courses of action for obese people must be to get started losing what weight they can. While on the one hand this is good for self-image because of how it allows a person to look more socially acceptable, it can also be crucial on a more practical level. Aside from obesity’s presence as a risk factor in various ailments, the simple and practical notion of reducing the weight-borne stress on our joints is often reason enough to get started here. It is sure to be slow and steady going, but it will almost certainly be worth it once the results start to show.
One important thing to remember to avoid chronic joint pain, even before the practical concerns of exercise become a factor, is that it can often be difficult to source and sustain the motivation to lose the weight. Sadly, while society as a whole is moving in the right direction regarding obesity, the social stigma attached to it – and to self-improvement, if you can believe that – is often still quite harsh. This reaches into the person himself or herself and can make them doubt the sensibility of their attempt to lose weight. Weight loss can be quite trying at first, and this feeling can return later on when the going gets rough. Being aware that this can happen – and that this has no bearing on the worth of the task at hand – is important.
Working with a doctor you trust, and who knows your medical history, is of paramount importance. Before you get started, get checked first – your doctor will be able to critically evaluate your capabilities at the start of the process, and thus will be able to tell you what you can and can’t do (yet). This will be important because a lot of injuries and further problems arise when people try to shoot for too much too fast. This happens either because they’re anxious to lose as much weight as quickly as possible, or they didn’t know better – so make sure you know better. Follow-up questions are encouraged, because you’re working with an expert who most likely has anticipated your needs. If you have any existing joint pains or other issues, your doctor may be able to propose some chronic joint pain treatments and steer you in the right direction.
2. Consider a variety of exercises, but start slow
Being obese, you have a lot on your proverbial plate when you seek to be active. If running ends up being your activity of choice, your joints will have to put up with quite a bit of stress carrying your weight at a more active pace. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run at all, though – just that you should start off slow. Running will be quite demanding, so you need to avoid thinking that you can go hard right off the bat. Jumping in and running full-tilt – or even at a moderately fast pace, if you’re not ready for it – can put your knees, ankles and back through the kind of pain you’re trying to avoid. What’s more, you might very well burn out early and thus ruin the experience for yourself going forward. This can be seen in people who lose the motivation to run, or who have migraines after running because their bodies are protesting. Start with small and realistic goals, and then climb the ladder as your body grows to be capable of more.
3. Walk before you run
To avoid chronic joint pain, literally applying the concept of starting slow, you might find that running itself is out of your immediate reach. No big deal – you’re too smart to foolishly rush into that, after all. Either a treadmill at the gym or the usual sidewalk can serve as your venue for walking. Each comes with the potential for a bit of exposure – putting yourself out there in front of other gym-goers or pedestrians and motorists can be a bit intimidating, but you might find that people in both contexts ultimately have more important things to worry about.
4. Choose the right clothes
For obese people, a lot of joint pain comes from unnatural body positioning and posture. It might be comfortable in the here and now, but long-term the positioning taken might put undue stress on joints. Believe it or not, a lot of this starts in the footwear. Look to avoid cheap shoes, as you want quality design and craftsmanship that guarantees the right support for your weight. Besides, your workout consistency is sure to wring your money’s worth out of the footwear, so cost is really not as big a deal as one might think to avoid chronic joint pain.
5. Watch the diet
Exercise is ultimately hampered if you don’t pair it with a smart diet. This is another area where consulting with your doctor can be helpful. Make sure to keep hydrated – especially if physical activity is on the to-do list – and try to incorporate a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet, with lean meat for protein. You’ll get frustrated over time if you keep regaining the pounds you lose, and it makes far more sense to keep in good shape and avoid chronic joint pain so you can keep working.
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