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Muscle & Bone Zone

Rigorous Outdoor Activities Can Lead to Bodily Stress

By Tye LeDuc

June 2006

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. Many people are beginning rigorous outdoor activities that can lead to increased bodily stress and even injury. This article discusses how a loss of excess body weight will not only increase one’s enjoyment of physical activity, but will also reduce biomechanical stresses to the body.

We all know that obesity and maintaining excess body fat can increase the difficulty of everyday life-activities. These conditions may also lead to more serious problems, including, sleep disturbances, physical and emotional problems, and sexual restriction. Over-weight individuals also tend to experience elevated pain levels. A study of obese men showed a correlation between moderate to substantial weight loss and reduced pain and disability. The study does not specify whether the weight loss and/or physical activity were the sole factors for reduced pain; however, what matters is that these factors create positive results.

Another benefit to consistent maintenance of optimal body weight is the resulting decrease in a significant amount of bodily stress. This will, in turn, reduce overall discomfort as we age. My patients who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee are a great example of how even a small loss of excess body fat can improve physical function. Biomechanical studies suggest, for each pound lost, the load exerted on the knee with each step will decrease by four times. A four-fold loss per pound is a dramatic reduction in stress to such a crucial joint!

When preparing to lose weight, it is important to implement a sound long term plan. Crash diets, fasts, and Hollywood juice diets are absolutely not the answer. New diets appear every few months, then disappear. The reason is because these diets are not effective in the long-term. Always remember: if a diet plan seems too good to be true, it probably is.

The keys to permanent weight loss are proper diet and maintaining a workable cardiovascular and strength program. Changes will happen slowly, typically at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week; however, it is these small losses that result in substantial long-term results. Individuals who implement proper exercise techniques and good nutrition will also feel personally rewarded as they develop new, healthy habits.

Always consult with your chiropractic or medical doctor prior to starting an exercise program. Once your doctor screens you and recommends exercise and dietary changes, remember to begin at a slow and easy pace, then gradually increase your intensity. The old adage “more pain more gain” is simply untrue. A feeling of fatigue post exercise is normal, however, pain which lasts for 2-3 days post-exercise may lead to future injury. If you experience any other abnormal symptoms, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, or fainting, immediately stop exercising and contact a physician.

I hope you all get a chance to get outside, get active, and enjoy the beautiful Montana sunshine!

www.montanawoman.com

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