Physical activity for the obese

Does your size hold you back from exercising the traditional way?

Are you obese and would like to begin exercising, but you are too embarrassed to go to a gym, don’t have the money to go and all the exercise suggestions are too taxing to start? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

-          Visit your personal physician to access your readiness for an exercise routine.

-           Determine to start exercising first for five to 10 minutes per day, at least two days per week and build up to 30 minutes a day, five days per week. Increase your time every two weeks until the desired time is reached. Remember you may regress sometimes, but keep moving forward and push to success.

-          Set a start date, get a trusted friend or family member to start with you or keep you encouraged.

-          Start looking at exercises for older adults and people with special disabilities, this method helps because it’s a gentler way to start exercising and can be less taxing on the body.

-          Consider starting with chair exercises. Here are some suggestions that have been compiled from the University of Georgia.

-          If you can’t afford a ball or lightweights, look around the house. You can use a cereal box in place of a ball, tin cans or peanut butter jars for weights and a lightly to fully filled water bottle or milk jug can be used for increasing weights.

-          Keep a journal, either in a notebook or electronically to track your progress.

-          Make sure you don’t increase your food intake due to your body’s natural response to the increased exercise, as it demands more food. This is just an indicator that your exercise routine is working to burning more calories. If your body burns more calories you will achieve a healthier weight faster.

-          Once these adapted exercises are mastered, challenge yourself to stand up and exercise, try more traditional exercises, go for a walk or even jog/walk.

Whether you’re tracking your weight loss in pounds or by dress/pant/trouser size, remember to reward yourself regularly with a non-food treat, such as a new outfit, a special outing or something you’ve always wanted. Contact your local Michigan State University Extension office for health and nutrition and physical activity classes near you to help you achieve your goal.

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