Exercises for Plus Size Women

by Tara Green, Demand Media
    Try a yoga class designed for plus-size bodies.

    Try a yoga class designed for plus-size bodies.

    If you are a plus-size woman, you might have felt discouraged or even unwelcome after visiting some gyms. Unfortunately, many exercise instructors and personal trainers don't know how to adapt movements to suit larger bodies. Discomfort or joint stress can result from exercising in a way that does not respect your plus-size form. But skinny people don't have a monopoly on movement. Many exercises are plus-size friendly.

    Walking

    Walking workouts let you build on an everyday, familiar activity. You can start by walking at your normal pace but for longer distances. Gradually build up your ability to walk a mile, two miles, three miles, and then work on increasing your pace. The only equipment you need is comfortable walking shoes. As long as you walk with good posture, walking helps strengthen not only the legs and buttocks but also the abdominal muscles.

    Swimming and Water Aerobics

    Water gives you buoyancy so your body does not experience strain when you perform strenuous movements. Water also provides natural resistance surrounding your body so that every movement you make involves more muscular effort. If you know how to swim, you may want to get a membership at a pool that has lap swimming time so you can exercise on your own. Or you may want to participate in a water aerobics class which uses water weights to provide added resistance as you do each exercise. With either activity, you can enhance muscular strength and cardiovascular efficiency.

    Gliding

    Many plus-size women avoid cardio dance classes because they involve repetitive bouncing movements that can feel stressful to the feet and joints. An alternative way to get a cardiovascular dance-like exercise workout is to glide. You can buy special polymer gliding discs that let you glide on either carpet and hard floors, or simply wear thick socks and glide on your hardwood or tile floors. The sliding movement tones your muscles without stressing your joints. Gliding can help you gain strength in your abdominal muscles as well as your back, buttocks and legs.

    Yoga

    Don't be put off by the fact that magazine photos of yoga usually feature size 2 women twisting their thin limbs into pretzel shapes. A touchstone many yoga teachers use is that "as long as you're breathing, you can do yoga." You may be able to find a class labeled something like "Yoga for Larger Bodies" in your area, or look for a yoga DVD tailored to bigger people. These classes are taught by instructors who are plus-size, so they can teach you how to practice yoga in a way that respects your body. You will learn how to do each pose so that you get its strengthening and stretching benefits without stressing your joints.

    Photo Credits

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