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What are the Best Exercises for Obese People?

By B. Miller
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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It is important for obese or overweight people to exercise in order to lose weight and get healthy, but it can be difficult for a number of reasons. The best exercises for obese people are exercises that do not place a lot of extra stress on the joints and bones, as well as aerobic exercise that gets the heart rate up in order to burn calories. Walking and swimming are two of the most often recommended exercises for obese people because they accomplish both of these goals.

Before beginning any exercises for obese people, it is important to visit a doctor in order to receive clearance to exercise. A doctor will be able to determine whether or not it is physically safe to begin exercising, and may be able to offer specific advice regarding types of exercise or target heart rates. It is important for everyone, not just overweight people, to keep the heart rate in the target heart rate zone while exercising; charts for this information may be found by simply searching online.

Some experts recommend that obese people simply begin exercising by sitting in a chair and doing arm and leg lifts. Depending on one's weight, joining a gym in order to use fitness equipment may be a good idea. Some people find that if they are very obese it is difficult to use fitness machines because it may be difficult to fit on them, or to use them safely and properly. Recumbent bicycles are often a good choice for exercises for obese people, because they offer aerobic benefits without stressing the joints.

Strength training is important as well, which may be done at a gym or at home with free weights. Swimming and aqua aerobics are some of the best exercises for obese people. These offer aerobic benefits which help to burn fat and increase cardiovascular endurance, but it causes almost no impact on the joints. It is easy to start slowly in a swimming pool, and to gradually increase the difficulty as one's physical fitness improves.

Walking is another one of the most recommended exercises for obese people. This can also be started slowly; one might only be able to walk for a few minutes at a time, and gradually increase the pace and distance as physical fitness improves. It is best not to begin jogging right away, because this places a lot of stress on the ankles and knees, and could potentially cause injury.

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Discussion Comments

By chivebasil — On Jan 08, 2013

It is my New year's resolution this year to finally lose some weight. I have about 150 extra pounds to lose and I have limited mobility so I am starting slow.

I have started walking but I am not sure how far or fast I should be walking. What kinds of distances do I need to cover to start seeing results?

By backdraft — On Jan 07, 2013

I have to admit that my daughter is obese. She needs to make serious changes in the way she eats and plays if she is going to avoid a difficult childhood of being overweight.

Can anyone recommend exercises, or activities that are good for obese children? I do not want my daughter to have to go to a gym, but if there was stuff we could do at home to get her moving more that would be a big help.

This is something that both my husband and I struggle with a lot. We want our daughter to love who she is, but we also want her to be healthy. How do we walk this fine line?

By tigers88 — On Jan 07, 2013

If you are obese I would definitively consult with a doctor or a trainer before I began any exercise routine. If you want to maximize your results and minimize your risk of injury you should really consult with an expert. They can design a routine that accommodates both your goals and limitations and you will have better results because of it.

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