In the past I’ve enjoyed the incredible thrill of sky diving.
I once again took a leap of faith skydiving with my daughter about 2 years ago. Yes, we are thrill seekers!! It’s an amazing experience to fall, float and fly in the magnificently beautiful blue sky, at 10,000 feet in the air, with a brightly colored 9 cell air-catching canopy.
What a feeling of freedom! Solo jumpers appreciate this, as well as how vital the skills of a good landing are.
A Coordinated Effort
When landing, one must be facing into the wind and synchronously pulling your toggle cords just before your feet touch the ground. This greatly decelerates the speed of your fall even with the parachute, and reduces the stress of impact on your body when your feet finally contact the ground.
Having good protective neurological muscular stabilization around your weight bearing joints also helps to reduce trauma risk. In contrast, a poor landing can lead to fractures, joint trauma, or worse.
In the spirit of reducing harmful impact forces on joints, another consideration is the healthy habit of weight control.
The Weight Control Challenge
Weight control is an ongoing challenge to many, including myself. Being overweight and / or obese continues to be an epidemic in our culture. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently reports an obesity prevalence of 93.3 million people (39.8% of the US population, 2015-2016).
Reduced quality of life, restrictive pain, and increased health care costs are among many negative resulting consequences of being overweight.
In 2008, the CDC estimated annual additional medical costs due to widespread obesity at $147 billion. Prevalence of obesity is highest among middle-aged adults (ages 40-59). In a different research study (Framingham, Annals of Internal Medicine, 1988) weight loss gain and loss was found to be directly related to osteoarthritis (OA).
Their study also included the finding that for every 11 pounds of body weight lost by women considered to be clinically overweight, the risk of osteoarthritis dropped by over 50%. Overweight men in the study who lost enough weight to be in the normal weight category reduced their knee OA risk by 21.5%, while similar changes in overweight women resulted in a 33% decrease in knee OA.
The bottom line is that for those who are overweight, losing pounds can have a very positive impact on joint health.
Another study (Meisser JAMA 2013) showed the combination of intensive exercise and controlled diet was more effective at reducing knee pain and improving function than just exercise alone.
While it’s easy to recommend weight loss, for many it is difficult to achieve. A regular habit of eating a balanced diet with limited portions is vital.
Sometimes people have mental health issues, hormonal issues, or simply poor dietary habits which add to their weight control challenges. To almost anyone seeking to control and reduce their weight, the services of a licensed counselor or a dietitian can be beneficial.
Quick Fixes Are Neither
Too often individuals put their trust in the false information found in tabloids, the Internet or TV. A relative of mine often spoke of a diet which he claimed was guaranteed to make you lose weight and you could eat as much as you want – the only catch was if the food was tasty you were required to spit it out. Clearly, non-professional help is frequently not the best answer!
Often restrictive pain, weakness and / or instability can cause an individual to becomes a prisoner inside their own body as they progressively move less, gain more weight, and then experience more pain.
Improve Your Ability To Move
A Licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy like Backsmith Advanced Physical Therapy LLC can be a very helpful resource in helping to abolish pain, reduce the need for pain medication, and to improve exercise and activity tolerance. Being able to be more active and eating better is the start of weight control (and weight loss) success.
Finally, it takes courage and discipline to have successful long-term weight management outcomes. Quick fix programs and hyped nutritional weight loss supplements are not the solution – they are frequently part of the problem and typically play on people’s insecurities, resulting in the only thing being reduced is your bank account!
The words “Fake Healthcare” come to mind. Generally, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
If you struggle with weight control, consider legitimate lifestyle changes and professional resource options which can help optimize your positive consequences.
Success = Personal Empowerment
Success is possible with the right commitment and professional interventions. Ultimately the best health care is that which truly empowers you to help yourself and leads you to freedom!
(This post also appeared in the August 2018 issue of Senior Review)