Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that can occur as the result of a birth defect or illness, although the cause often is not readily apparent. Severe scoliosis usually is treated with surgery. People with mild cases learn to live with the condition by wearing a brace or working to strengthen muscles that support the spine. According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment depends on the age of the patient and severity of the curve. Lifestyle and exercise guidelines can help relieve the pain of scoliosis, along with keeping your weight in check and reducing excess fat.
It's important to include aerobic exercise in your program to lose fat. While you can't spot reduce, the excess belly fat will dissipate as you lose fat all over your body. Low-impact exercises are the most effective if you have spine pain so you don't place extra pressure on your back. An elliptical trainer used for 30 minutes three or four times a week provides a low-impact workout to help lose weight and extra belly fat without aggravating your scoliosis. The elliptical trainer provides a load-bearing workout that helps increase bone density while preventing the jarring impact of other aerobics like running and jogging.
Walking is an effective exercise to lose weight, which eventually will reduce your midsection. Following surgery to straighten your back or as part of a rehabilitation program, walking is encouraged to prevent blood clots and keep your weight down. Excessive weight around the waist places additional pressure on the spine, which can create pain. According to Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, you can begin walking within a few days after surgery.
Stretching exercises are important to keep your back flexible so you can continue with your other fitness programs and maintain your mobility. According to the Sports Injury Clinic, the most effective back-stretching exercise involves standing straight up and raising your right arm over your head. Reach for the ceiling as you push your left arm toward the floor, leaving it close to your body. Lower your right arm and repeat on the opposite side. Do spinal stretching daily, especially before and after you perform other physical activities. Even light stretching burns calories to help you lose weight.
Scoliosis is commonly diagnosed in young people between the ages of 10 and 14. Three out of 100 people have some level of spinal curvature. According to Teens Health, most teens and adults with the condition can play a wide range of sports without any problems. Regular sports participation is one of the most effective ways to reduce belly fat and increase overall fitness. If your scoliosis is severe or if you've had extensive treatment, you may need to refrain from high-impact sports such as football and gymnastics, but calorie-burning activities such as swimming, skating, baseball and tennis usually are appropriate. Follow your doctor’s orders about which sports you can play to keep your weight down and prevent further complications.
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.