Although most people are aware of the negative impact that excess weight can have on their bodies, they often do not realize the level of stress and effects that it can have on their spine. Simply being overweight or obese can lead to the development of various health problems, including in the spine – which functions as the body’s primary support system. At Hunt Spinal Care, we strive to educate our patients about how body weight can affect overall spinal health and provide the services needed to ensure your spine stays healthy.
Obesity is a common disorder in the United States, and Oklahoma in particular. It impacts our day-to-day life, including our exercise habits and eating patterns, which both contribute to additional weight gain. For this reason, this article will also include some valuable tips on decreasing unneeded snacking habits, improving exercise routines, and ensuring your health remains optimal throughout the process.
The Impacts of Weight on the Spine
The spine protects and houses the body’s central nervous system while simultaneously offering structural support for muscles. In addition to these roles, the spine also provides structural support for the weight of the entire body to ensure proper motion, function, and shock absorption. Any time excess weight is present, it can put stress on the spine and decrease these functions. It may even alter the curvature available to support any added stress or weight on your body.
Patients who are overweight will often compromise the ability of their spine to protect and facilitate general functions. As you might imagine, this can lead to more severe problems over time, including the development of various conditions like sciatica, diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, herniated discs, back pain, pinched nerves, and much more. Increased weight also may lead to shortness of breath while exercising, higher levels of fatigue, and other hindrances when remaining physical or exercising.
Anyone overweight should focus on losing the extra fat since each pound can add strain to muscles or ligaments found throughout the body. Even minor weight loss can lead to significant improvements in a person’s overall health while drastically improving their quality of life. Hunt Spinal Care has chiropractors in Tulsa that can help relieve stress, correct range of motion, and restore nervous system functions with simple spinal adjustments. Our team can even offer lifestyle recommendations to improve dietary choices or exercise routines focused on spinal health.
Tips for Counteracting Weight Gain
Now that you know the dangers of excess weight gain, it is vital to arm yourself with the information needed to decrease the level of fat in your body or counteract potential weight gain that could occur in the future. With the pressures of modern-day life, stress can build up quickly. This often leads to increased intake of carbohydrates, grazing, missed exercise opportunities, and stress eating. Before starting any weight loss plan, it is important to consult your doctor to determine what level of exercise and decrease in calories is healthy for you.
Maintaining a Balanced Diet
Snacking out of boredom is one of the most significant contributors to weight gain for most people. When you get the urge to start snacking, take the time to ask yourself, “Am I hungry or just bored?” If you can admit that you are snacking out of boredom, you can channel that boredom into something else. Some potential options include going for a walk, calling a friend, or playing a game. The important thing is that you limit snacking in those instances.
If you are going to snack or will be in an environment that will lead to overconsumption, make sure that you plan ahead. Take steps to ensure you have designated snack times, healthy options, and portion sizes that make sense for your dietary goals. Avoid eating from a container and portion out your foods to ensure you can enjoy the snack in the right amounts and still avoid overeating.
While it is unhealthy to never indulge in cookies, treats, or chocolate, they should be considered rate treats and not just staples in your everyday diet. Instead, healthier options like fresh fruit, cheese, carrots, or celery with peanut butter should be considered simple, healthy snack options. If you take the time to purchase fresh produce, it will always be a healthier option to reach for them over-processed foods. Making cooking and mealtimes a family activity is a terrific way to stick to goals and strengthen familial bonds.
Staying Active and Exercising
If you can get out of the house to exercise, do not be afraid to! Just spending time outdoors and enjoying the sun and fresh air can do wonders to reduce stress levels and relax the body. Taking a walk at your preferred pace or riding a bicycle around the neighborhood can make exercising less demanding. Remember, you do not have to go to the gym and work as hard as possible to see results. Even small steps that are different from your usual activity level are a great start. The goal is to work up to making exercise a standard part of your life.
It is crucial for individuals who are not regularly active to start slow and focus on low-intensity exercise. Start by taking 5-10 minutes a day to get your heart racing. Some pain and discomfort will be expected if you are just getting started with a new routine; however, the goal should be to build up to around 30 minutes of continuous physical activity daily over the next few weeks. Circuit training with pushups, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, crunches, and planks are some exercises you can include to stay fit while at home or the gym. Yoga or mat Pilates are also great ways to be active if you are looking for something more gentle and minimal impact.
Regular exercise benefits both the body and the mind. It can help reduce high blood pressure, decrease muscle tension and strain, reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes, and help manage weight while improving bone and muscle strength. Setting a specific time aside daily for exercise can help maintain a schedule while providing a much-needed boost. No matter what type of exercise you choose to pursue, make sure you create a plan and stick to it – even when you do not want to! When paired with regular chiropractic care, you will begin to see results quickly!
Why Choose Hunt Spinal Care?
Maintaining a health weight is often a challenge for many people. However, having the support of a chiropractor in Tulsa that can help maintain your spinal health and help you achieve your goals more easily. For more information on our weight loss programs or to schedule an appointment, contact us or give us a call at (918) 459-0333 today.