One of the first recommendations given to an obese or overweight person is to add exercise to your lifestyle and a good start is walking or jogging. The aim of this blog is to examine such a recommendation. Let us look at the some of the bio-mechanical challenges of walking and/or jogging. In normal gait one generates 3 times their body weight of force crossing the hip joints and when someone jogs the force goes up. Now if someone has proper mechanics from foot up and minimal compensation their body welcomes these forces and dissipates them efficiently. It is important to understand that the “steering wheel” of the leg is the hip joint so dysfunction at the hip joint would affect the joints below (knee and foot) and above (lumbar, thoracic spine and shoulder girdle). To add to this in the case of many women whose hips are wider (which are great for child bearing, but not for efficient force generation) are more predisposed to hip instability, thus knee, lower leg and back problems with being of average weight. Also another factor for proper functioning gait patterns is respiration and core function which in the non-obese population is atypical much less the obese population.

When an overweight or obese person walks they engage in strategies that change normal gait patterns because their hips cannot handle the increased compressive forces and do not have the strength to drive 3 times the body weight. As a result there is excessive compensation throughout their body and any activity that increases compressive forces repeatedly across the hips like long walking or jogging would be contraindicated. Other strategies to get an obese person active without compromising their joints would be a preferred methodology. Methods that are low impact and unloading of their hips, knees and feet would be where to start and as they lose weight and improve their stability, mobility and strength more progressive exercises would be included in their program.

Author's Bio: 

Basil Butcher is a former National level under 19 cricketer and tennis player in his native Guyana. Basil has been educated in the health and fitness fields by the CHEK Institute; C.H.E.K. Level IV Practitioner and Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level III. National Academy of Sports Medicine; Sports Fitness Specialist and International Sport Sciences Association as a Fitness Trainer, Fitness Therapist and Specialist in Sports Conditioning. He is also a certified Neuromuscular Therapist(St. John Method), certified Advanced Metabolic Typing Advisor Level II, certified in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and Functional Diagnostic Medicine.

Basil has consulted with the following organizations: Guyana National Cricket Team, Demerara Cricket Board, New York Cricket Region Youth Cricket Program. He is the Physio/Trainer for the Atlantic Cricket Region U-19 and Senior cricket teams. He was the Physio/Trainer of the USA National U-19 Cricket team that played in the 2006 ICC Youth World Cup in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

He has worked with West Indies cricketers such as Ramnaresh Sarwan, Reon King, Colin Stuart and Neil McGarrell. He has worked with 7-time World Masters Power Lifting Champion and world record holder Ellen Stein, LPGA Golf Pro Mary Enright, World and National Masters swimming champion Kristin Gary and drummer Cindy Blackman. He has worked with people from all walks of life and athletes from sports such as baseball, basketball, cricket, cycling, golf, power lifting, wrestling, swimming, soccer and American football.

Basil has presented seminars and lectures in Guyana and throughout the New York Metro area on topics such as Functional Back Training, Functional Shoulder Training, Holistic Program Design, Stress and Your Health and From Injury to the Playing Field.

Basil has maintained an Integrative Performance Enhancement Coaching private practice in New York City for the past 12 years.

Basil specializes in the following areas:

Personal Training/Coaching

Rehabilitation Conditioning for Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip and Knee Conditions/Pain.

Integrated Weight Loss/Functional Diagnostic Medicine

Advanced Metabolic Typing

Performance Enhancement for Life/Sport