Here's how to become more physically active if you're overweight.
Starting an exercise program can be difficult for anyone. But if you are among the more than more than 70% of adults in the U.S. who are overweight or obese, the challenge can be even greater.
Although it's hard to argue with the fact that physical activity is an essential component of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and losing weight, there are challenges to exercise that you may experience if you are overweight.
One study done at Temple University's Center for Obesity Research and Education found obese women reported greater challenges to being active than women at a normal weight. These included:
- Fear of failure or injury
- Being self-conscious
- Feeling too overweight or too unhealthy to exercise
- Experiencing aches and pains
The more barriers to exercise women identified at the beginning of the study, the less likely they were to be exercising 12 months later.
Despite increased challenges, experts agree that even if you're obese, you can overcome the challenges preventing you from moving more and can get to the point where you're comfortably exercising for 30 minutes at least 3-4 times a week. The key to success is to start small and remember that creating a healthy lifestyle is a long-term skill that you will improve upon slowly, one step at a time.
Here are 5 tips that can help you become more physically active:
- Talk to your doctor. Before starting any type of exercise, it's best to get your doctor's approval.
- Find support. Consider joining a beginner exercise class through a hospital or wellness center or find a friend who also wants to get more active or just wants to help you meet your goals.
- Start small. Begin by committing to a walk around the block each day or even to the mailbox. Every week, set a slightly further goal. If you're not ready to handle a full 30-minute walk, aim to walk for 10 minutes at a time and do it 3 times a day.
- Don't compare yourself to others. No one else's abilities should matter to you. The only thing that affects your health and well-being is what you can do.
- Stay positive and realistic. Be proud of your day-by-day successes and growth. Step by step you're taking actions to become a healthier you.
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Date Last Reviewed: November 20, 2017
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS