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Exercises that heavy women can start with

Updated on June 15, 2007

The fact is that if you're very overweight and out of shape, you're likely going to face some obstacles-both physically and mentally-that will challenge you in every possible way. But I can tell you this: These obstacles are not just obstacles to exercise-they are the same challenges that stand between you and the life you want for yourself. If you can find a way to meet these challenges head-on now, by being successful at making exercise a part of your daily life, you'll have self-management skills and the confidence you need to handle just about anything else life might throw at you. Exercise can help you shed pounds, and a lot of other unwanted baggage as well.

Priority #1: Safety

Problem: One of the biggest mistakes people commit is making assumptions about what they can't do without checking with someone who knows how to determine that. You may have physical problems, ranging from medical conditions that impose unavoidable limitations on what you can do, to the typical after-effects of years of obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, such as chronic inflexibility, weakness, and muscle pain. These problems may rule out one kind of exercise or another. But it would be unusual if there is truly nothing you can do. The first step here is to sort out what really can't be done (or changed) from what can. That begins with a visit to the doctor, to get a medically approved exercise prescription, telling you what you can and can't do.

Solution: Don't be one of those people. Tell your doctor you want to start exercising and ask for advice on what to do and what to avoid. Many doctors aren't trained in exercise science, so if the advice you get is too vague or general to be helpful to you, go see a certified personal trainer to get a fitness plan that you can take back to your doctor for approval or modification. Between these two sources, you should get ideas to start safely.

Priority #2: Find Something That Fits YOU

Problem: You just can't seem to find a good place to start. You've checked out the exercises in the Resource Center, but you don't see many that suit you. You are not sure if you are flexible enough, or strong enough, ect.

Solution: Almost every exercise can be modified so you can do it (or something like it) in a way that meets your needs and present capacities. For example:

  • Chair exercises allow you to do many strength and stretching exercises that otherwise would have to be done on the floor or standing. This allows you to get through a whole routine that would have left you exhausted or worse if you were standing up the whole time.
  • You can take a water aerobics classes and/or do your walking in a swimming pool, or you can use a walker.

The main idea is to start where you are right now, and adapt exercises to your needs and capacities, instead of trying (and often failing) to use exercises that aren't right for you at this stage. With a little research and by asking questions, you'll find that plenty of very effective alternatives to traditional exercises are already available.

Above all, don't make it easy to talk yourself out of starting an exercise program by getting confused about the difference between a challenge and an insurmountable obstacle. Those undefeatable obstacles are really pretty few and far between and not so hard to work around-if you want it to be that way.


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    Becca 7 years ago

    THis article wasn't very helpful. It didn't really say any exercises to do.

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    Bobbi 6 years ago

    I agree that this article was not about exercises heavy women can start with. It was the standard...don't give up and check with your physician advice you read anywhere.

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    patty 6 years ago

    I agree,it didn't answer anything. I had asked for ideas of things to do. Standard reply, Check with your doctor, don't give up, you can find away.

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    Tanya 5 years ago

    I'm a very obesed woman just turned 41 and want to live another 41 years! Seriously, is there anyone that can give me an exercise program that I can start off with. Exercise for me is very tiring and I can't do a lot without having to stop, probably not more then 5 minutes at a time. I'm disgusted that i've allowed myself to get to this point but I need help. Please any advice would be welcomed...

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