Morbid obesity — having a body mass index of 40 or higher — can make it difficult to walk upstairs, bend over to tie your shoes or get up from a chair without help. A BMI in the morbid obesity range means that your weight is at least 100 lbs. higher than is healthy for you. The extra weight increases your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and other conditions that can affect your ability to move about freely and live your life.

Whether obesity affects mobility is a question that can be best answered once you know what obesity and immobility really means. While there may be many people whose BMI or Body Mass Index is exceptionally high and beyond the optimal limit, these technically obese individuals may actually be far from immobile.

Many overweight people are quite fit as is evident if you consider the weights of boxers and wrestlers, shot putters and weight lifters. But this obesity does not affect their mobility; as a matter of fact, these sports persons are fitter and more agile than regular people.

What is immobility?

Immobility is any disability or disease that causes you to be confined to the bed or severely restricts your normal activities. Many obese people may not be able to perform weight bearing activities. This refers to those actions where your legs and feet have to take the whole body weight.

How obesity affects mobility:

Difficulty to move

When you are carrying excess weight, it is bound to affect your mobility. The extra weight will make movements really hard and uncomfortable. This is why most overweight individuals are seen to experience knee joint pains and back pains. These pains are the result of heightened pressure on the vertebrae and joints. Problems with mobility are more acute in obese people when they grow older.

Loss of muscle mass

Obese people suffer from loss of muscle mass. This may be a cause for much concern, and cases of very obese people needing hospitalization once in a while are not uncommon. Severely obese people suffer from offloading-atrophy which causes immobility. So, it is important to assess your muscle strength on a regular basis because this can be a strong indicator when it comes to predicting immobility.

Sedentary lifestyle

When a young person has excess fat and is moderately obese, there is no immediate danger of immobility but he needs to stay as physically active as possible. Those with a tendency to become overweight for genetic reasons, usually end up gaining weight faster. This is all the more true when they lead a sedentary lifestyle. Moderately obese people can try some proven weight loss programs to reach the less risky BMI reading. These individuals have to choose a program that offers weight loss at a steady pace. They also recommend a 30-minute workout everyday to complement your weight loss effort.

Social ostracism

When you are overweight, any kind of physical activity is harder to perform. The heart will have to work harder in order to pump blood for a large number of tissues. You will also need to put in more effort to move a heavy weight body. Obese people typically have higher amounts of body fat but less muscle mass and volume. The higher the amount of weight you put on your joints and ligaments especially when you grow older, the more are the chances of osteoarthritis. This condition causes your ankles and knees to wear out faster. Amongst the younger people, becoming obese may lead to numerous socio-psychological problems. Such overweight teens are usually stigmatized. They may find it embarrassing to go out in public or interact socially with their peers. They also tend to avoid physical exercises like dancing and swimming. This lack of physical activities that can keep you fit makes them even unhealthier and affects their mobility.

The lesser the body movements, the greater are the chances of gaining more weight; inactivity results in reduction of muscle mass. Morbidly obese people are therefore more prone to suffer from diabetes and heart problems, osteoarthritis and blood pressure fluctuations.

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