Physical exercise can be difficult for those who are seriously overweight or obese. There may even be mobility problems or health conditions that make exercise almost impossible for some people. Normal physical activity can put a huge amount of strain on the joints, heart and lungs of those carrying a large amount of extra weight. In some cases, strenuous exercise could even be dangerous. This is why it is imperative to ALWAYS check with your doctor before beginning ANY exercise program! Once your doctor has told you that exercising is safe for you, and has even encouraged you to do so, there are many different ways to begin your exercise program, even with some physical limitations. Physical activity and exercise is essential for losing weight, increasing mobility and ensuring healthy joints, blood pressure, circulation and heart function. Regular exercise also helps to combat depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and other mental disorders, as well as helping to prevent potential health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Finding manageable ways to get regular exercise will have a wide-ranging and positive effect on the physical and mental health of those struggling with weight problems. The key is to choose forms of exercise that can be performed comfortably, without putting too much strain on the body.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for people of all ages, sizes and abilities. It is a free, simple and potentially sociable form of exercise that can be tailored to fit your current health and fitness levels. If you don't like to exercise alone, you can walk with a friend, a pet or even join a walking group. Walking outdoors has the added benefit of enabling you to exercise while enjoying the fresh air, daylight and extra boost of vitamin D from the sunshine. Walking is also a weight-bearing exercise, which can help to prevent bone problems and osteoporosis. If you have mobility problems or current health conditions that affect your ability to exercise, it's important to start slowly and only walk as far as you are comfortably able. In some cases, this may mean that you are only able to walk indoors. Don't let this discourage you; simply walking up and down the length of a room can be a useful start to improving your mobility. If you intend to walk outdoors, you will need to wear appropriate footwear to support your feet. You should also wear suitable clothing and take a bottle of water to keep hydrated. Start slowly, perhaps by walking to the local shop or by riding the bus for a couple of stops and then walking back home. You can then build up your walking ability and speed over a period of time. It is imperative that you begin your walking regimen by purchasing an appropriate pair of athletic shoes. Check out this post
for some tips on buying the right sneakers. Occasionally, over the counter insoles may be beneficial to supplement the arch support of the shoes you've purchased to avoid sore feet
Armchair exercises can be ideal for those with significant mobility problems or health conditions that prevent normal exercise. Armchair exercises can be performed while watching television or listening to the radio, and are gentle enough for most people. You can increase your upper and lower body strength by doing simple seated exercises. You don't need special equipment, although a few household items can be helpful. Tins of beans or jars of cooking sauce can be used as weights for performing bicep curls and other upper body exercises. Belts or rolled up towels can be used as aids to help stretch your legs and arms. Squeezing pillows or foam balls can help to increase joint flexibility in the hands. You can also build your leg strength by attaching bags of rice to your ankles, and then gently raising your legs.
The Internet provides a whole wealth of resources that can help you to find appropriate exercises for your particular abilities. YouTube, for example, contains a huge amount of user-submitted exercise videos, some of which are designed specifically for obese and morbidly obese people. There are several popular YouTube channels that have been set up by users who are also struggling with obesity, and who use their channel to share exercises and advice with other users. There are also many websites offering step-by-step guides and videos for a variety of exercises, including seated exercises, gentle stretching and physiotherapy exercises, which can help to increase mobility and flexibility. Once again, before trying any exercise routine you've researched via the internet, please check with your medical doctor.
While you may not be able to engage in sports or regular gym activities, there may be other helpful activities available in your local area. Some gyms, health centres and clubs have regular health walks, which are usually suitable for most people, and also give you the opportunity to meet new people. Exercise groups for those with limited mobility may also be available. Check with local websites, organizations and groups to see what is available in your area. The most important thing is to start slowly and gently, gradually building up your strength and flexibility over a period of time. Finding exercise that you enjoy, and has been deemed safe by your physician, is the best way of achieving this.
Dr. Thomas Lembo
Hello! I'm the creator of "Samurai Insoles", and work to rid the world of foot pain everyday.