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This may come under the heading, “stating the obvious", but it still bears noting – by carrying around extra weight and not working out, you’re doing your body a serious disservice. And a new study linking obesity and lack of exercise to chronic pain and reinforces the point.
Reuters reports that Norwegian researchers followed more than 30,000 adults for over 11 years, tracking their workout habits and body mass index (BMI) along the way. Taking into account age, whether or not they smoked, and whether they did manual labor at work, the researchers found that men who exercised two hours or more a week at the start of the study were 25% less likely to have lower back pain 11 years later compared to men who didn’t work out at all, and 20% less likely to have neck and shoulder pain. And women who exercised at least two hours per week showed 8% and 9% less likelihood of lower back and neck/shoulder pain, repectively.
As for excess weight, obese men were nearly 21% more likely to develop chronic lower back pain than men of normal weight, and 22% more likely to develop neck or shoulder pain. Obese women also had a 21% increased likelihood of developing back pain, and a 19% higher likelihood of neck and shoulder pain.
The study hardly provides conclusive evidence, given its observational approach – other factors not taken into account may also contribute to chronic pain. But if your back’s been out of whack lately, it may be high time to lay off the snack foods and hit the gym.