Carrying around excess weight puts you at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and pregnancy complications. But jumping into a rigorous new exercise program to eliminate some of that weight can be equally dangerous, putting you at risk for injuries and excessive demand on the heart muscle. With your doctor’s approval and supervision, develop a workout routine that gets your booty in shape without putting your body at risk.
Just adding more movement into daily life can help initiate weight loss. In some instances, this can be the best way to ease an overweight person into a new exercise routine. Tap your feet while you’re working or watching television. Clap along to music and toss a ball with your friends or relatives. Park just a bit farther from the entrance and add a few extra steps to your walk. Walk to the mailbox, rather than grabbing the mail as you pull your car into the driveway. Although these mini movements might not equal major weight loss, they do help you burn more calories every day.
Depending on your physical mobility, walking can be an effective exercise. It provides a workout for your heart, cardiovascular system, bones and muscles. Begin slow and stick to flat, even surfaces when you first begin. Walk down the block for a few weeks until you’re feeling more confident, then slowly increase your walking distance until you’re rounding the block. Before you know it, you’ll be walking your kids to the park and renewing your friendship with your walk-loving puppy.
Water’s buoyancy properties eliminate most of the stress and pressure on the body’s joints, making it a good option for people carrying around extra weight. Many fitness centers offer water aerobics classes in both shallow and deep water. You can also hop into the pool on your own and walk laps in the shallow end or use a flotation device and kick your way around the deep end. Of course, donning a bathing suit -- or even shorts and a t-shirt -- can be emotionally challenging for heavy people. Find out the fitness center’s busiest hours and try to schedule your workout during the off-hours, if it makes you more comfortable.
Excess weight can put physical stress on the knee and ankle joints; this stress can make walking difficult for some overweight people. In that case, chair aerobics or chair yoga can be a great way to exercise without stressing the joints. These exercises typically involve both the upper and lower body. In fact, you can even add light weights to your upper-body workout as your fitness level improves.
- New York Times: Exercise Advice Often Ignores Jiggle Factor
- Diabetes in Control: Part Three: Chair Aerobics
- Get Fit Where You Sit: Who Benefits from Chair Yoga
- Paso Del Norte Health Foundation: Walking Tips for Overweight and Older Adults
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Benefits of Water-based Exercise
Krista Sheehan is a registered nurse and professional writer. She works in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and her previous nursing experience includes geriatrics, pulmonary disorders and home health care. Her professional writing works focus mainly on the subjects of physical health, fitness, nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.