I was helping J shoot a segment for one of the shows he works on last night to spend a bit of time together (let's just say he's been working too much lately) and the main guest they had on the show was very interesting - the topic of the day was arthritis. The guy being interviewed was one of the top researchers in the nation and one of the things he touched on really struck me...he pointed out the the fact that being overweight puts excessive stress on joints, leading to increased acute arthritis, at a much earlier age than it would normally be seen. So not only is being large and sedentary a problem, but it is like a self repeating circle...eventually you won't be *able* to move around at much of any sort of a normal level as you'll be out of shape AND in pain. your body would truly be a prison...and losing weight with arthritis pain would be a true challenge and test of endurance. I'm not sure I would have the fortitude. This struck me so deeply, as I have seen this in my sister in law already but never put it together. Her weight is over 350 and she is already having difficulty with stairs and driving a standard car, in addition to her being winded from walking farther than a block or two. She is less and less active as time goes on, and complains of aches and pains. She also now has to sleep with a mask on at night due to sleep apnea, and was recently diagnosed with celiac disease. This just drove home the inevitability of her having this to look forward to. Sad...as a large number of her health maladies are largely preventable if she could lose even part of her weight. She's tried, but had a hard go of it and has never really kept at it. It is discouraging...losing so much weight is no simple thing. To me, I just don't see how living in a painful body is not a huge wake up call to become more healthy. It's what triggered me and I only had about 40lbs to lose. I worry for her... I want my brother and her to have many happy years together.
Here's a scary thought - The guest on the show went further to say that the general 10% increase in obesity (and trend towards even greater numbers) in the Canadian population will likely lead to a 25% increase in arthritis in the next 20 years. For something like arthritis that can be addressed early, this is remarkable...
This has really given me a kick in the pants to be more active. It's also gave me the reminder to look after myself and not push too hard. The guest also said that stressful injuries from overexercise and "going back too soon" after injury, particularly in the ages 15-40, is a leading cause of painful joint damage resulting in more severe arthritis later in life. I don't want my body to be a prison, or depend on arthritis medication to live a better life...I want to look after myself.
So I ask you all: Would you make the commitment to look after yourself too? There's so many reasons to do even little things to benefit your health. Not perfection...not uberfitness or diet. Just practical healthy diet and some activity in your life. Please. For me? I worry.
My goal for november is to be kind to my body.
...and back to work.