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February 29, 2016

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[
Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our panel of
Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members
of our Editorial Board.
]





Do your legs ache when you walk to your car? Are you plagued
by knee pain or chronic back pain? Do your hips give you
problems, or your whole body ache? It’s not necessarily bad luck
or older age – it’s probably the extra pounds you are carrying
around with you.

In obese people “general and specific musculoskeletal pain is
common,” according to an interesting 2015 study from the
University of Florida.

Significant hip, knee, and back pain increases with increased BMI
in adults aged 60 years and over, says a 2003 study from the
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Being overweight makes your joints hurt, increases lower back
pain, and leads to widespread chronic pain, and this creates a
vicious cycle of lack of physical activity, which further deepens the
problem. Luckily, you can do something to ease the pain and
break the cycle.

What Are the Links Between Obesity and Joint Pain?

































Being overweight has a big impact on your musculo-skeletal
system. A 2013 study from the University of Florida shows excess
weight increases stress on the joints and tissues, which limits
physical activity and increases pain.

Obesity can also create negative body image and lower self-
esteem, which leads to depression, anxiety, and higher rates of
physical inactivity.

The
loss of muscle strength due to physical inactivity makes joint
pain worse.

It’s a serious issue – 35 percent of adults and 17 percent of
youth are obese in the US, and only 21 percent of Americans
complete the recommended levels of physical activity for
maintaining good health, according to a CDC National Health
Report, 2005-2013.

Children with a BMI that goes past the 95th percentile report
double the levels of pain as non-obese children, according to a
2006 report from the University of São Paulo in Brazil – the pain
is linked to skeletal deformity and dysfunction the muscles.

What Can You Do About Your Aches and Pains?

While there is evidence that acute bursts of intense activity make
pain worse, regular and moderate exercise lowers pain across the
body, according to the 2015 University of Florida study. In fact,
aerobic and resistance exercise reduce joint pain in obese people
by 14 to 71.4 percent, say expert studies.

Unfortunately, obese people do not always see exercise programs
through to an effective conclusion – dropout rates are high. Here’
s what you can do to reduce chronic pain – and how to stick to an
exercise regime that works.

1.
Do Regular, Moderate Exercise

It’s simple, and it works. If you haven’t already heard about the
benefits of exercise for easing pain then it’s time to start listening.

Regular exercise was identified as the primary method of
preventing over 35 conditions including joint pain, anxiety, and
depression, according to a 2011 study from University Victor
Segalen Bordeaux 2 in France.  

Exercise positively benefits by providing an anti-inflammatory
effect and increasing muscle strength and coordination, as well as
improving mood and psychological outlook.

2.
Target Lower Back Pain with Specific Exercises

If you are one of the estimated 34 million Americans suffering
from chronic
lower back pain, you also probably carry a few too
many extra pounds. A 2007 study from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention showed that 64.3 percent of people with
lower back pain were overweight or obese.

In a study from the University of Florida in 2014, obese adults
with chronic lower back pain took part in total body resistance
exercise, lumbar extension exercises, or no exercise.

Greater reductions in the level of pain when sitting and walking
were recorded with both the exercise measures, but not with no
exercise. Participants did not lose weight in the study, however,
and further research is needed to see if there is extra pain relief
along with weight loss through exercise.

3.
Ease Hip Pain When You Are Obese

While
hip pain is a recognized side effect of obesity, there are few
studies specifically looking at exercise’s effect on obesity-related
hip problems.

A 2013 study from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands,
did look at the issue, and carried out an eight-month program of
different exercises along with weight loss through diet –
significant improvements in hip pain were reported compared to
baseline, and walking mobility also improved.

4.
Take Care of Knee Pain with Aquatic Exercise

If you have a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more you have a four-times
greater risk of developing
osteoarthritis of the knee compared to
adults of a healthy weight, according to a 2011 study from the
University of Ottawa.

Aquatic running and cycling appeared to give rapid pain relief to
obese sufferers, compared to already significant relief after
walking exercise, in a 2010 study from Seoul National University
Bundang Hospital 300, Korea, probably due to the extra support
offered by the water.

5.
Restricting Calories and Following a General Exercise Regime
Leads to Lower Pain


A 2010 study from McConnell Heart Health Center, Columbus,
Ohio looked at a weight management program that included daily
calorie restriction to 1,200-1,800 calories a day, and weight
bearing and aerobic exercise.

The program resulted in a reduction in general body pain of
around 56 percent, compared with no reduction in pain for
people who did not reduce their weight or increase their exercise.

6.
Tailored Exercise Programs Slow the Drop-Out Rate

When obese people exercise, the drop-out rate for exercise
participation is as high as 50 percent in adults, according to a
2010 study from Trekanten legesenter, Kristiansand, Norway.

Experts suggest exercise programs should be tailored to the
needs of obese people, including modifying specific exercises to
prevent acute episodes of pain (2014 study from the University of
Pittsburgh), and incline walking at lower speeds to keep people
active and minimize pain felt during the exercise, according to a
2014 study from Colorado State University.

7.
Shorter Bursts of Low or Moderate Impact Activity is Best

In fact, long periods of sustained exercise can cause pain that
leads to drop-out, and shorter bursts of low-impact exercise are
much better for obese people in terms of minimizing acute pain,
and helping adults stick to an activity regime, according to a 2013
study from UF Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute,
Gainesville, Florida.

An exercise program, according to these scientists, should not
surpass more than 10 percent of weekly activity duration in order
to allow bone tissues to reset and avoid injury.





































































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