The Daily Tonic is a two to five minute read sharing science backed health news and tips, all while getting you to crack a smile or even lol on occasion.
A little knee pain here and there? Tight hips? Back pain? Just swap it out for a new one. Problem solved right?
Ehh… not exactly. Knee and hip replacements are very invasive procedures that may improve a patient’s quality of life in the short term, but ultimately don’t address the underlying causes for needing those joints replaced in the first place.
Total hip and knee replacements have seen a steep increase in popularity over the past couple of decades. According to some forecasts, the number of total knee replacements performed in the US will increase by more than 600% by 2030 as compared to 2005. Total hip replacements are expected to increase by almost 200% over the same time period.
That’s a lot of new knees and hips.
So why are so many people suffering from achy knees and bad hips? Is it a higher prevalence of injury? Or is it our joints that are getting weaker due to poor nutrition and lack of exercise? Or could rising obesity rates have anything to do with it?
The short answer—all of the above.
Sedentary lives + poor nutrition = knee replacement surgery
The fact that injuries are more common is closely tied to the fact that we are living more sedentary lives, which makes our bodies weaker and less resilient. Generally speaking, we are all working out less, spending less time outside, and spending less time on our feet. Our bodies were designed to move and today, the average American across all age groups just isn’t getting that much movement.
Combine that with the obesity epidemic and you get the perfect storm for achy knees and bad hips. Millions of Americans are walking around with weak joints being forced to hold up a lot more weight than they really have the capacity for.
The key takeaway? Being overweight isn’t exactly ideal for anyone looking to optimize their health. While we usually associate obesity with poor metabolic and cardiovascular health outcomes, there is also the impact that excess weight has on the joints that should be considered.
Eating a whole foods based, balanced diet is key for so many reasons, but that is only a piece of the equation when it comes to good skeletal health. There are still plenty of people with a healthy body weight and achy or problematic joints. This is why daily movement as well as dedicated exercise and resistance training should be something everyone prioritizes, regardless of your weight.
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