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Dieting and exercise for overweight orthopedic patients

Author: Sameer Gupta
Published: Oct 27 2013

An unfortunate truth of our times is that people now consume a lot of unhealthy food, while at the same time do not devote much time to exercise. By indulging in such a lifestyle, we are causing our body to fall prey to many lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol levels etc. Obesity, one major effects of unhealthy eating, puts severe pressure on the knees and other leg joints, which gives rise to many orthopedic conditions. Experts warn heavy patients to reduce weight by means of dieting and exercising, or face severe consequences in form of joint troubles.

Dieting and Exercise

According to a study published in the September issue of Journal of the American Medical Association, the pain and inflammation associated with knee osteoarthritis in obese and heavy patients was marginally eased in those who paid attention to both dieting as well as exercising, than in patients who did either of the two alone.

The study was led by Stephen P Messier, PhD of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C. The study included 454 patients above the age of 55 years who had Body Mass Index of 27 and had moderate to mild knee osteoarthritis. Furthermore, all the patients had a sedentary lifestyle. All the patients were randomly placed in any of the three interventions which included:

- Intense weight loss intervention which had strict caloric restriction, meal substitute shakes and nutrition education along with support sessions.

- Exercise and strength training intervention including aerobics thrice in a week for an hour.

- Combination of both exercise as well as weight loss program.

The target set was 10% loss of body weight for which extra counseling was provided.

At the end of the study duration it was observed that the combination intervention helped to lower knee compressive force, inflammation as well as joint pain. Furthermore it promoted better functionality and higher quality of life.

Changing Lifestyle and Incorporating Exercise

People are increasingly indulging in unhealthy diets that contain fatty and sugary food. This results in rapid weight gain leading to many health complications. Most dieticians recommend the intake of wholesome meals in order to avoid the possibility of osteoporosis, which has become a common occurrence. Along with a balanced diet, exposure to morning sun is also important for maintaining vitamin D levels. Apart from these two factors, exercising is also essential as it helps to strengthen the muscles, which in turn protect the bones. Orthopedic doctors recommend moderate exercises for patients suffering from osteoporosis, joint pain, back pain etc. such as:

- Water Aerobics: By working out in water, you can avoid stressful workouts and minimize the impact of your workout routine. Water workouts can include aerobics, walking and even water sports.

- Swimming: This is an ideal exercise for those who suffer from hip and knee arthritis as the joints are cushioned by water thus minimizing arthritis pain.

- Wall Squats: By standing against the wall and doing half squats, helps to ease back pain. This exercise is an ideal way to rid lower back pain.

- Walking: One of the most recommended exercises is walking; however it should be accompanied by a few modifications such as interval walking, brisk walking and also including hand movements while walking.

All these activities are ideal to keep weight in check and increase muscle strength.

There is a general consensus amongst dieticians, orthopedic doctors and other health professionals that the rising number of health conditions are caused due to lack of exercise combined with unhealthy eating habits.

It is important to understand the role of healthy wholesome diet along with exercising in order to ensure that further orthopedic pains are avoided. Overweight patients may need to bring about major lifestyle changes so that they are not victims of joint, knee and back pains.

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