The Relationship between Weight and Back Pain – 5 Sneaky Reasons You Pack on Extra Pounds
Weight gain is one of the primary reasons why people suffer from back pain. As our diets grow unhealthier with convenient, deep fried foods served in ginormous portions, the pounds keep creeping on. Even for someone who bikes the Victoria area of Vancouver Island every day, keeping those unwanted pounds off can prove a daunting challenge. Sometimes it seems like the more we work out with physical activity, whether it’s playing a team sport or a more solitary activity like riding an exercise bike while watching television in the spare room of your family’s home, the gauge on the scale just keeps pointing in the wrong direction.
After I turned 40 it seemed like there was nothing I could do to get rid of those unwanted pounds. While I appreciate people like the pop singer Adele, who said “I’m not going to change my size because they don’t like the way I look”, the extra pounds were starting to have other effects besides how my clothes fit. Walking the dog around the block was taking longer and leaving me more out of breath. I had trouble sleeping. I just felt like I had no energy whatsoever. And worst of all, there seemed to be a constant pain in my lower back.
One Weight Gain Mystery, Several Possible Solutions
At a regular check-up with my family doctor, I complained that no matter how much I denied myself treats like ice cream and potato chips, I just couldn’t seem to shed those pounds or find relief for my chronic back pain. She asked me to run through a typical day at home, and then listened as I described the highlights from arising before dawn all the way through dropping into bed well after midnight. Here are some things I was doing wrong that were inviting the extra pounds to make themselves at home in my body.
- Lack of sleep. Not getting enough rest causes a type of mental stress, and the way your body tries to heal the pain of that stress is by cocooning your frame in a soft cushion of extra pounds. Being tired makes us more likely to turn to snacks, or turn to sugary sodas and coffee heavy laden with flavored creamers in an attempt to stay awake.
- Stress. When left unchecked, stress can wreak havoc on our bodies. Life is fast-paced and technology puts so many demands on our time. We’re encouraged to do as much as we can in as little time as possible to keep up with the rest of the world around us. However, too many people take comfort in comfort food, which packs on extra pounds and causes our body more physical stress.
- Medications. Some prescription drugs that are required for us to manage from day to day come with the unwanted side effect of weight gain. Steroids, oral contraceptives, and other hormone-based drugs pack on pounds over time even if there is no other change in our daily activity. And it’s not all from increasing our appetites; some drugs just alter how our body stores fat or changes our body’s insulin level.
- Undiagnosed medical conditions. A friend of mine turned forty and her body ballooned four sizes larger than what she weighed in at age thirty-nine. Her doctor ordered a series of blood tests that revealed a problem with her thyroid.
- Menopause. When women reach this stage in life, their metabolism slows. Combine this with hormonal changes that make it difficult to sleep and increase appetite, and you have the perfect recipe for weight gain.
A Stationary Solution for Unwanted Pounds
Instead of looking to food, which is a temporary fix for all of these problems, it’s important to turn to more positive that will burn off not only your excess frustration but also those unwanted pounds. Solace for me came in the form of a stationary exercise bike. I read plenty of exercise bike reviews before making a final decision. Stationary bikes are also a great choice for anyone who has problems with mobility due to age, injury, or some other condition.
However, the best exercise bikes that give the greatest workout are mobile ones. Places like Galloping Goose Trail, Mount Douglas Park, and Botanical Beach Park are all known for both areas for hiking or biking and scenic views. The natural setting is a great way to get out of the house, enjoy some fresh air, and exercise. In fact, when my family visits our local parks and lakes, it doesn’t even feel like exercising. If you’re looking to shed some unwanted pounds, especially if it’s causing a chronic back pain issue, then it’s time to visit your family doctor to solve the mystery and work to combat it.
About the Author
Freelance writer Becky James-Muth cringes at the word exercise, which is why she looks for ways to work out that don’t involve going to the gym. Along with using a stationary exercise bike while watching television, she also takes walks with her golden retriever and hikes with her husband and teenage sons. When she isn’t working or spending time with her family, Becky enjoys dabbling in digital art, finding new uses for discarded items, and meeting up with friends for coffee.