Obesity and Exercise

Starting an Exercise Program

There may be special challenges for very large people who are physically active. You may not be able to bend or move in the same way that other people can. It may also be hard to find clothes and equipment for exercising. In addition, you may feel self-conscious about being physically active around other people.
To start being more active, try these tips:
  • Think about your barriers to being active. Then try to come up with creative ways to solve them. The following examples may help you overcome barriers.
    I don't have enough time.
    Be active for a few minutes at a time throughout the day. Sit less. Try to walk more while doing your errands, or schedule lunchtime workouts to boost your overall activity. Plan ahead and be creative!
    I feel self-conscious when I am active.
    Be active at home while doing household chores, and find ways to move more during your day-to-day activities. Try walking with a group of friends with whom you feel comfortable.
    I am worried about my health or injury.
    You might feel better if you first talk to a healthcare provider. Find a fitness provider to guide you, or sign up for a class so you feel safe. Remember that activity does not have to be difficult. Gentle activity is good, too.
    I don't like to exercise.
    Good news -- you do not have to run or do push-ups to get the benefits of being physically active. Try dancing to the radio, walking outdoors, or being active with friends to spice it up.
    I can't stay motivated.
    Try to add variety to your activities and rely on friends to stay focused on being active. Try activity videos for extra encouragement. Set realistic goals, track your progress, and be sure to celebrate your achievements.
  • Start slowly. Your body needs time to adjust to your new activity.
  • Warm up. Warm-ups get your body ready for action. Shrug your shoulders, tap your toes, swing your arms, or march in place. You should spend a few minutes warming up for any physical activity -- even walking. Walk slowly for the first few minutes.
  • Cool down. Slow down little by little. If you have been walking fast, walk slowly or stretch for a few minutes to cool down. Cooling down may protect your heart, relax your muscles, and keep you from getting hurt.
Remember to appreciate yourself. If you cannot do an activity, do not be hard on yourself. Feel good about what you can do.
Be proud of pushing yourself up out of a chair or walking a short distance. Pat yourself on the back for even trying if you cannot do it the first time. It may be easier the next time!
10 Simple Ways to Lose Weight

Obesity Epidemic

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