Exercise And Weight Loss

Safe Exercises for Obese and Overweight People



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Before starting any exercise routine a person should check with their doctor to make sure they are healthy enough to exercise, or to see if they have a condition that would prevent certain types of exercise. That said almost anyone can exercise and many of us are making excuses that sound good perhaps even are justified to some extent but we could be engaging in some form of activity. I may sound harsh but I speak from experience since I am not just overweight or merely obese but am morbidly or super obese.

I always frowned on those who used their weight as an excuse not to be active and I busted my butt to prove one could be large and still move. Then in my forties I began to have health issues that pulled me up short. An old injury to my knee flared up and it was discovered I had a torn miniscus. Following that I developed extreme shortness of breathe on exertion. Neither condition was helped by the fact I topped the scales at 525 pounds. When I got sick of being sick and decided to find a way to get healthy I knew I would have to find a way to exercise but it was very hard to do.

I hate to sweat, I would begin sucking air any time I got up to walk much less anything else and the more I moved the more my knees hurt. So it seemed an impossible venture to find an exercise routine I could do. Although I have an R.N. degree and more research material then most people do I must admit I was stumped. The only thing I wasn't lacking was excuses.

I made progress with my breathing issues and even lost some weight but was not getting any where with starting an exercise program. I got my wake up call when I was watching programs on the super obese, who were also bed ridden. Their doctors and therapists had them exercising in bed. Hey I am not bed ridden! Then I caught a T.V. exercise program called "Sit and Be Fit" designed for patients with arthritis, post stroke and elderly. Hey I haven't had a stroke and I'm not that old!

I began to see what I could do instead of what I couldn't do. I can do all kinds of things. Yes, somethings I have to modify because of my limitations (knees mostly) but I can exercise and if I can then most everyone else should be able to. There are actually a pretty wide variety of exercises that can be done safely if you are overweight or obese.

Even when I was on oxygen therapy, the therapist suggested using a timer and walking for brief distances (whatever I could manage) and then recovering and beginning again. The time limit wasn't much just 6 minutes. It might not sound like much but it is a start. Hopefully most of you are not on oxygen but you can use the same model and walk up and down a hall way in your home or your drive way. Increasing your distance as you build strength and stamina. Before long you will be walking the block, if you stick with it.

Swimming is also a good exercise and is low impact on the joints. If you don't like the idea of swimming laps many gyms have aqua aerobic programs. If you can't afford or don't have easy access to a gym, you can create your own routine in any pool, from walking laps to bicycling in the water to jumping jacks. If you like to swim laps then much like walking start with a few laps and build on that.

Stretching exercises are also very good, not only do they loosen up your tight muscles but gets them warmed up and ready to work, reducing the chances of injuring yourself during more strenuous exercise. You need not move on from stretching exercises to the more strenuous to get benefit. Stretching will increase your range of motion and it feels very good. Which may encourage you to add to your routine. You can use a bathroom towel and grasp either end for many bending and stretching routines. For a bit more resistance there are elastic bands.

Strength training usually involves weights but you can start going through the movements without weights to increase your level of activity. Doing bicep curls, arm lifts, arm circles and many others. When you decide to add weight you can get dumb bells that are as little as 1 pound and work up to heavier weights. No money for dumb bells, no worry, grab a couple of cans from your cupboard and use them or a couple of bags of rice or beans.

If you lack full range of motion or have an injury then don't be afraid to modify. No way could I do push ups at my current weight or with my bad knees but I can do push ups off of the kitchen counter. Many exercises can be done while sitting, so you can do a few routines while sitting in your office on break or in your living room while watching T.V.

Don't forget to work your joints, flexing your ankles or rolling them in circles, roll your shoulders, lifting them up and rolling them forward and backwards. Always work the joint as fully as you can in its normal range of motion. All your joints deserve to be flexed and rotated.

Start slowly and work your way up to the more difficult exercises. The important thing is to start and then to stay with it. So be sure to begin with exercises you like doing and are comfortable with. As you gain strength and confidence, you can challenge yourself by adding new exercises or greater weight or more repetitions. There will no doubt be times when your tired or your muscles ache but stick with it. I have to fight with myself almost daily but I know I will feel better and move better if I complete my exercises.

Even if you chose not to diet, exercise will firm and tone your muscles and your will lose inches while getting stronger and gaining stamina, which all contribute to your health. You will also reduce your stress levels by exercising and we can all benefit from that. If you are also dieting, your weight loss may slow or you may even gain a bit of weight when you begin to exercise. Relax, you are building muscle and the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn in the long run.

So after checking with your doctor and getting the heads up on what is the best exercise for you, there is no more room for excuses, even those that sound good. There are lots of ways to exercise safely regardless of the numbers you have on the scale. You can modify exercises if you have injuries or health issues that limit what you can do. You can get healthier and strong and more mobile starting today!

More about this author: Carol Wise

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