If you are obese or overweight, exercise can be a tricky topic. Often, working out with extra weight becomes a vicious, negative cycle. Excess body weight puts stress on your joints, bones, and connective tissue, so when you do try to start a regular exercise routine, you end up hurting yourself, making many workouts too uncomfortable or even impossible to do. However, even though your knees probably hurt, your back probably hurts, and you probably already don’t feel good, you must start somewhere.
At the risk of generalizing, often gyms just aren’t that big-person friendly. When you’re obese, walking into a space where other people are already fit can be quite intimidating. On the other hand, for some, going to the gym is what motivates them, and there are certainly good choices for overweight and obese people. Cross-trainers and recumbent bikes all alleviate impact on the joints and lower back as do swimming and aqua aerobics.
For those who wish for something that doesn’t require machines or specialized equipment, here are some simple ways to get started at home:
- Make A Plan — Find the smallest thing you can do right now and commit to doing it every day. “Today I will walk around the block.” Or “Today I will spend 10 minutes doing chair exercises.” Once you’ve met your small goal for the week, you can always add just a little more to it.
- Enlist Support — Find someone in your life – a colleague, family member, or next-door neighbor – who will support and encourage you. The use of social support is an undisputed strategy for success. You don’t need another lecture about the health dangers of being overweight; you need positive motivation to make healthier choices.
- Start Slow — The goal is to start exercising little by little, not to overdo it and end up frustrated, burnt out, or hurt right away. Gentle, easy exercise is the way to begin!
Just as not exercising becomes a routine, so can doing simple and easy workouts. Soon you’ll be craving something a little more challenging. Listen to your body and be aware of problems, but the bottom line is that most of us can do some kind of physical activity to make us healthier.