Don’t let your weight keep you from exercising

You’ve gone this long without exercising, so why start now? Because you can get your life back, that’s why! Don’t ever make the excuse that you’re too overweight or too out of shape to exercise. Right now you may not be able to walk across the room without feeling winded, but with hard work and determination you can exercise, lose weight, and improve your health.

The physical limitations and emotional challenges of being obese may make exercise difficult but certainly not impossible. The key is to start small and slow.

If your BMI is greater than 30, make an appointment with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to exercise. Since obesity is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems, dizziness, overheating, shortness of breath, muscle weakness and muscle pain, it’s important to work with your physician and personal trainer to develop a fitness plan. These professionals can tell you which activities are safe and which ones to avoid.

Don’t assume you can’t do any exercises because of your size or fitness level. Floor exercises may be out of the question if you can’t get yourself off the floor. Workout machines at the gym aren’t an option if you’re unable to fit in them.

Exercising around people may make you feel too self-conscious. Walking for any distance may lead to knee or foot pain. Because of these limitations, it’s important to find an exercise that fits your current needs. Keep with your routine and your needs will change, making it possible for you to do all the exercises you want.

A good place to start is with chair exercises. Rather than standing or getting on the floor, you can stay seated while performing strength and stretching exercises. Work your arms with free weights and do leg lifts. Get out of your chair and move around as much as you can throughout the day. Small changes can add up to a big difference.

If you have access to a swimming pool and are comfortable around other people, other great options include water aerobics or walking in the water. Keep in mind these are just starting exercises. As you lose weight, become stronger and gain confidence, a host of other workout options open up to you.

Your mind can be your biggest hurdle when it comes to exercise and weight loss. Fears about pain, failure, watching eyes and change are common but must be overcome to get your life back. Focus on the day at hand, while keeping your end goal in mind.

Allow a personal trainer or friend to come alongside you in your journey. While other people can’t force you to exercise or make the necessary lifestyle changes to improve your health (it’s up to you), they can support you and encourage your efforts.

To avoid injury or burnout, start slow. When you’re just beginning to add exercise to your life, aim to get your heart rate and breathing elevated for just 10 to 15 minutes a day. Each week, add five minutes until you’re able to exercise for 30 minutes every day.

Television shows like the Biggest Loser may help motivate you to lose weight, but don’t compare yourself to others or expect drastic weight loss over night or you’ll be disappointed and tempted to quit altogether.

You can do this, but don’t do it alone. Start slow and start small, and take every step with the support of your personal trainer. You can do it!

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.