The joints of the body are junctions that connect bones. Their main functions allow us to bear weight, and give us the ability to move. Because of these functions, joints are constantly under stress and eventually begin to deteriorate; and for those who are obese or even slightly overweight, the stress on joints is even greater which can accelerate joint deterioration.
The joints that take the brunt of the effects are the weight-bearing joints, like our hips and our knees. The more weight we carry, the more stress that goes through these joints, therefore incurring more damage. For each pound of excess weight, there is about 4 pounds of pressure exerted on the knees. So an individual who is 20 pounds overweight, has about 80 pounds of extra pressure going through their knees! If you then factor in all the steps you take, and stairs you climb etc., you can imagine the amount of stress those weight-bearing joints are receiving.
If you are already suffering from severe joint damage (osteoarthritis), and are at the point where you need or recently had joint replacement surgery, it is still important to monitor your body weight! Losing weight before surgery can lessen the chance of complications during the operation, as well as help cut down recovery time after the surgery is complete. Losing weight after the operation can also aid in a quicker recovery and also reduce the risk of damage to the artificial joint.
So how do we save our joints?
Start today by making healthy choices to reduce body weight. Proper nutrition in conjunction with exercise can aid in weight loss and reduce stress on joints. Weight training will strengthen the muscles and bones around those weight- bearing joints. The better the ability of our muscles to control our weight through movement, the less stress our joints will have to endure.
By David McCalla