How Obesity Can Affect Your Mobility

Dr Handicap - measuring stomach

Obesity can now be considered a pandemic in the developed world. In the United States alone, two in three adults are considered overweight or obese, with a third being classed as obese. This is calculated by the body mass index (BMI), a measurement of weight against height. A BMI of between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, with over 30 considered obese and over 40 calculated as extremely obese. Due to a proliferation in processed food and people spending more and more time at home on electrical devices and less time exercising, we are in a situation that we have never experienced before in that more people are at an unhealthy weight as opposed to a healthy one. While people are considerate of the effect that this can have on the heart or other organs, the effects of obesity on mobility are shocking.

The first thing to consider is that your joints will suffer if you are extremely obese. Think of your body like a suitcase that you need to carry around with you; your joints are the wheels that the suitcase rolls on to get from A to B. When you have more weight in your suitcase (or body), the wheels (your joints) will wear down quicker. This can lead to mobility issues, joint replacements, or even amputation.

As well as your joints suffering, there are other negative effects of obesity on mobility. People who are extremely obese tend to tire quicker than those who are of healthy weight so are not as easily able to move around. This becomes a vicious cycle, as if you tire quickly when you move around, you are less likely to exercise – which can result in you gaining even more weight.

Dr Handicap - overweight

Diabetes is a common side effect of obesity and can lead to mobility issues. A build-up of sugar in the blood can lead to nerve damage, which makes sufferers of diabetes less likely to feel when they have cuts or nicks on their feet; these can then become easily infected due to a lack of blood flow to the area, also as a result of diabetes. It is very common for those with diabetes to have issues with their feet, which, if left unchecked, can lead to amputation of the foot, or even the leg in extreme cases.

The good news is that you don’t have to resign yourself to a life of prosthetics, wheelchairs, and disabled parking permits. There are several lifestyle changes that you can make that can ensure the effects of obesity on mobility are reduced. Even if you are extremely obese, it is never too late to turn back the clock and make some changes to ensure that you take back your life and your mobility before it’s too late.

Exercise is one of the best things that you can incorporate into your life to ensure that you stay at a healthy weight as well as mobile. It’s very easy to be intimidated by the gym bunnies at your local health club, but exercise can mean very different things to different people. If you want to go to the gym, the best thing to do is to speak to a trainer to get an exercise routine that works best for you and can deliver the best results. Working with a trainer also ensures that you can exercise with guidance and avoid the possibility of injury.

Dr Handicap - weight scales

As well as cardiovascular and strength exercise, it is also important to focus on flexibility to ensure that your body doesn’t get too much of a shock. Yoga and Pilates are excellent forms of exercise that will do wonders for both your body and mind. Muscles that are flexible and limber, even if the body carries extra weight, are far less likely to be injured and will be happier in conducting other forms of exercise. These exercises are not just for skinny people. Anyone of any size can benefit from the stretching, flexibility, and meditation that yoga offers, and any instructor worth their certification will know this too.

If you are worried about your weight and your mobility, speak to your doctor. It is also important to speak to them before embarking on any big change, like a new exercise routine. However, if you decide to make this change, you’ll be moving around like never before and you’ll ensure that your body is mobile for many years to come. You’ll be happier, healthier, and will be able to do things with your body that you never thought possible at a higher weight. No handicap parking space needed here!