How to Overcome Common Struggles to Start Exercising When You’re Obese

If you are obese – someone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 to 34.9 – you are probably tired of hearing the same advice (that in most cases doesn’t work) – the way to lose weight is through diet and exercise. And it can be part of the solution, but it goes deeper than that – much deeper.

What many normal-weight people don’t understand is that obese people have different challenges to overcome:

• low energy
• joint pain
• increased susceptibility for injury
… and therefore have to take a different approach to lose weight and get healthy.

Low Energy

It is not that obese people are lazy because most are not. What causes low energy are the hormones secreted by stored body fat. Not long ago, researchers thought that stored fat was just that. Now due to recent studies, they know that fat secretes its own hormones which affect energy levels.

Joint Pain

The joints, especially the knees, hips, and ankles are not made to support the kind of stress put on them when someone is obese. Their common response is pain. It is common knowledge that for every 10 pounds of weight, it puts 40 pounds of stress on the knees. Think of someone 100 pounds overweight; that is an additional 400 pounds of stress. No wonder their joints hurt!

Increased Susceptibility for Injury

Being obese means you have a lot of weight shifting around when you move. While controllable during normal daily activities, it can become a problem when exercising and can lead to an injury.

So how do obese people overcome these struggles so they can start exercising? The advice of most healthcare professionals is to start small and do what you can.

To overcome low energy is basically a mindset. Initially commit to a block of time – say 15 minutes. If you can’t do it for that long, then break it down into three 5-minute blocks. Gradually work your way into longer sessions.

As far as alleviating joint pain, pick one exercise you can comfortably do. For example, swimming and water aerobics are low impact and very joint-friendly, meaning it shouldn’t hurt as much to do something in the water as it does on land. If you have less joint pain, a recumbent bike or elliptical trainer are good land low impact exercises.

Focus on exercises that don’t initially involve a lot of movement. The ones mentioned in the previous paragraph are all good ones to start with.

Couple your exercise program with good nutrition and you will start losing weight. Look at your journey in months or even years, instead of weeks; it will take a while to get to the goal, but persistence will pay off. As the body fat comes off, your energy level will increase allowing you to do more moves and exercise for longer periods of time. Don’t get discouraged – you can do this!

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