If you carry excess weight, the very thought of working out (especially in front of others) can be totally off-putting.
Whether you just don’t feel comfortable working out in a gym environment, or you physically don’t like the way exercise makes you feel, you just can’t seem to get over those mental barriers.
Truth is, you probably know how important it is that fitness becomes a part of your life… but where do you begin?
No matter what size you are, there is something you can start doing right away, and it doesn’t matter how physically unfit you feel, either.
Not only will a regular exercise routine help you get down to a healthier weight, but exercise also boosts your heart health, your lung capacity, and helps to strengthen your bones, amongst other things.
As I said, knowing exactly where to begin can be a major hindrance, so here are my tips to help you get started today:
1. Light Cardio Exercises
A good starting point is to begin with some very light cardio training. Something like walking, for example.
Even if you are overweight, you will be able to walk around the block once or twice, and this is the perfect way to get moving again.
You may feel like walking slowly is a pointless exercise. But, in the initial days your goal should be to move more than you currently do, so walking, however slow it may feel to you, will help you in the long-run.
If you do experience any knee or back pain when walking, swimming is another option you may want to consider, as it will put much less pressure on your joints.
Simple exercises which you can do in the water include stretching, leg lifts, standing breaststrokes, kicks and light jumps.
I know it can be difficult to get into the water with so many other people around you. However, my guess is that most people will be glad to see you there, working out, and trying to improve your health. Anyone who thinks otherwise, isn’t worth your attention anyway!
2. Basic Weight Training
To help strengthen your muscles, and whip your metabolism into shape, bodyweight training is a fantastic idea, and it can be done in the comfort of your own home, which is great.
Begin by performing a series of bodyweight squats (hold onto a chair if necessary), lunges, push-ups (on your knees if necessary), and crunches on the floor.
If you can only do five or so before you find yourself out of breath and having to stop – that is fine. Just keep it up, and remember patience is key here.
Aim to perform your bodyweight exercises three times per week, striving to do one more rep with each session that you complete.
Weights and resistance bands
Once you’ve got the hang of bodyweight exercises, you can easily add in some light weights, or resistance bands, to shift things up a gear.
Seated exercises can be very useful for building basic muscle strength, too.
While sitting in a chair, perform a variety of arm raises, leg lifts, bends, twists, and leans. Although these are very gentle exercises, they will help to build the necessary strength you need for full workouts in the future.
Working out using an exercise ball can also be a good idea, helping you improve your balance, stability and abdominal strength.
Try some basic exercises sitting on the ball, such as lifting one foot off the floor, holding, back down again, and then lifting the other foot, and repeating the same on the other side. You could even do this while you watch your favorite TV show, so that you are getting a workout at the same time.
The idea here is to move more than you normally do, gradually building on your strength and endurance each time, and challenging yourself to go that little bit further each time.
3. Maintain Your Comfort
You may also want to consider getting a heart rate monitor, so that you can workout and keep a close eye on how your heart is coping.
This can give you peace of mind that things are okay with your body, and it will help to spur you on as you begin to notice improvements in your levels.
If you find that your heart rate is getting up too high, immediately stop the exercise until it comes back down again. A slight elevation is absolutely fine, and is encouraged, in fact.
But, if it gets too high this has the potential for discomfort, and right now you need to focus on building a positive association with exercise in your mind.
Another way to make sure you are comfortable is to wear suitable clothing and footwear.
This may seem like an insignificant point, but it can make a huge difference to how you feel, and how long your exercise session lasts… nothing kills your motivation to exercise quicker than a pair of poor fitting trainers. I know from experience!
Your workout clothes don’t need to be fancy, just something you feel comfortable and cool wearing.
So, how does exercise make you feel if you are very overweight? Can you share any tips on exercise for obese people?
Read my previous article on the same topic, How to Exercise When You’re Obese.