Obesity, Weight Loss, & Where to start

  • April 25, 2022
obesity, weight loss, and achieving goals

A fresh start to a healthier 2022

We all finish the year with a reflection of the things we managed to achieve or did not quite get. The News Year’s resolutions we set in January 2021 that started well, but for one reason or another, did not stay consistent, are building blocks to help us make better decisions and choices for 2022. Some of us set goals that were attained, some not. Question? Were they within our reach, or have we overestimated our capabilities and doomed not to succeed from the start? Whatever the result is, we learn from our experiences. The mistakes we made, the good results we had, the guidance, advice, and encouragement we gave and received along our journey have taught us something.

 Whatever your goals are for 2022, we at Forward Motion Physical Therapy are here to help you along the way. This blog post will focus on getting Healthier, Fitter, Stronger, and Staying Injury Free for 2022, so hopefully, in one year, as you reflect on the year of 2022, you can say this was one of my best years ever.  

Obesity, Weight loss, Exercise Programs and Where to start

Many people become more sedentary during the winter months. Why? It’s too cold, and it’s dark when we get up and arrive home from school or work; and the warm comforts once we get home along with the hot plates of yummy comfort foods, are more appealing than putting on the sneakers and going for a walk or to the gym, and eating healthy.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), “68 % of the adult population in the United States currently is estimated to be overweight, and about 36% are obese. It is also estimated that 10% of children in the United States aged 2 to 5 years, 15% of children aged 6 to 11 years, and 16% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 years are overweight. Obesity increases the chance of early death; around 325,000 deaths in the United States each year are attributed to obesity.” 

What is obesity? 

Obesity is a condition involving the storage of excess body fat brought about by an imbalance between caloric intake (number of calories eaten) and energy expenditure (number of calories burned) occurring over an extended period. As little as 100 extra calories per day will lead to a 4.5 kg [10 lb] weight gain each year, leading to weight problems over time. 

Obesity affects the body in many negative ways and can lead to other health problems, such as: 

  • Cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer (breast, liver, endometrial, prostate, and colon), osteoarthritis, lymphedema (swelling of arms and legs), breathing problems, including asthma and sleep apnea, depression.  

When we are less active, we may experience difficulty engaging in daily activities due to the increased body weight we are carrying, along with a loss of physical conditioning and limitation in our range of movement. 

Modern society, especially in the past 20 years, enables and encourages overeating and the acceptance of overeating. There is an abundance of inexpensive, high-calorie foods with poor nutritional value available on every corner. 

“Fast food,” “junk food” restaurants dominate the malls. We are bombarded with advertising for food products to make our lives easier, which may not necessarily be a healthy choice. We are also encouraged to consume unreasonably large portions of food with “supersized options or “Doggie Bags” to take home the excess.  

The growth of sedentary lifestyles or inactivity continues to grow. Kids are bused or driven to school. Physical Education classes have been reduced as we focus on the core curriculum. Many spend more time playing video games and watching TV instead of playing sports outside. We work longer hours, commute longer distances, and sit at desk jobs instead of performing manual labor. When was the last time you went for a walk at lunchtime or as a family after work? When was the last time you took your kids or grandkids to the park? Do you take the stairs or the elevator? The list goes on. 

Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk, has been studying the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles for years and has summed up his findings in two sentences. “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death”. 

Physical exercise, activity, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are essential for people of all ages, and the benefits are numerous: 

  • Strengthens muscles to prevent injury 
  • Optimizes the cardiovascular system 
  • Controls body weight 
  • Benefits mental health – can prevent and combat depression and Parkinson’s Disease 
  • Provides socialization 

Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (March 11, 2008) shows that maintaining aerobic fitness through to middle age could delay biological aging by 12 years. The benefits of incorporating even a modest exercise program into one’s daily routine improve the body’s oxygen consumption and its ability to generate energy, which, in turn, leads to the slowing and possible reversal of the inevitable decline of our body’s function. 

As experts in mobility, motion, and exercise prescription, physical therapists can evaluate and assess your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems to develop a safe, individualized exercise plan for you. Whether your goal is to manage your weight or combat the effects of inactivity, recover from a nagging injury, ache or pain, or take your current exercise program to the next level, we are the health care practitioner to ask.  

Many people are afraid to start an exercise program. You may be intimidated by the gym or may have gotten injured in the past doing an exercise class, be scared to overdo it and get injured, or simply not know where to start. Physical therapists are different from Personal Trainers. Personal trainers may be appropriate for the younger, fitter, more active individual. Still, they will not have extensive knowledge of the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems and managing conditions such as Osteoarthritis, Herniated Discs, Stenosis, or Rotator Cuff injuries.

Let us help

 This is where a Physical Therapist’s medical background and education in movement science and rehabilitation can isolate key problem areas and address them specifically, using techniques such as joint and soft tissue mobilizations, along with neuromuscular re-education and exercises allow restoration of normal pain-free movement patterns.  

If you are thinking of starting an exercise program, call to make an appointment to get a Physical Therapy assessment of your mobility, stability, strength, balance, and neuromuscular control. Get your baseline measurements to see how ready you are so that we can help you start at the right level and intensity to allow a smooth transition into an exercise program. We will give you advice on stretching before and after, how to prevent exercise soreness, how to listen to your body, so you know when to back off a little or push a little harder. 

We will also help you plan to get the workout in during a busy day, the importance of sleep, adequate nutrition, and hydration, and how you can cross-train to prevent injury and keep it interesting. If you are already exercising and want to take it to the next level, we can perform a Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) to help you reach your next goal.   



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