Being overweight is often an obstacle to starting an exercise program. But it's also a risk factor for heart disease. It's time to overcome your fears and get moving!
Starting an exercise program can be difficult for anyone. But if you are one of the 78 million obese people in the United States, the challenge can be even greater.
In widely cited research, 278 women were enrolled in a yearlong physical activity study. The group included both obese women and those considered normal weight.
The obese women in the study reported greater challenges to being active. And the more barriers they identified at the beginning of the study, the less likely they were to be exercising 12 months later.
Some common reasons overweight women aren’t working out:
- Fear of failure and injury
- Feeling too overweight to exercise or otherwise unhealthy
- Experiencing minor aches and pains from exercise
Experts agree, however, that overweight or obese people can overcome their fears and fairly easily get to the point where they are exercising comfortably for 30 minutes three or four times a week. And with that as a foundation, it is possible to introduce more intense exercise into the mix.
The key to success? Start small and remember that building a healthy lifestyle is just another skill that you will improve at over time. Just like calculus, intense exercise is not something you start doing one day. And challenges and setbacks are to be expected.
Tips to Get You Moving and Keep You Active
Talk to your doctor about your exercise plans and find group support.Post your fitness plans on Facebook and share your successes—and setbacks—with your social circles. Another place to look for group support is at exercise classes for beginners at your hospital or wellness center.
Start with short walks around your neighborhood. Promise yourself that you will take a walk around the block each day. Every week, set a slightly further goal. And remember that it is okay to break your exercise into manageable chunks. Instead of a 30-minute walk, you can go for three 10-minute strolls.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Even the most fit and athletic person at the gym is working to improve their routine and could be just as frustrated at their inability to lift a certain weight as you are with getting started.
Stay positive and realistic. Be proud of your day-by-day successes and growth.
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