The fitness and weight loss industry is huge business with millions of pounds being spent on health club membership, diets and home fitness equipment. Yet the industries marketing is almost exclusively geared towards the already-fit populace. You never see overweight or obese people bouncing in an aerobics class or using the latest fitness machine on posters and in magazines.
The reason is two fold. Firstly overweight and obese people do not sell health club memberships and fitness equipment. Secondly some of the exercise classes and fitness machines are not appropriate for unfit, overweight people.
Some one who is unfit and obese needs very different requirements to someone who is already reasonably fit. Health Club aerobics classes, even those for beginners can be too strenuous for someone in very poor condition. Before an overweight person buys home fitness equipment they need to take specialist advice. Is the machine big enough for them, will it take their weight and is it warranted to do so and finally is it safe. There are many treadmills on the market but not all have controllable speed. If the treadmill starts to quickly or speeds up to quickly an overweight person could soon find themselves panicking or worse still stumbling and falling.
But all is not lost.
Working Out At A Health Club/Gym
If you want to work out in a class, then why not try Aqua Aerobics, where the water, reducing the likely hood of muscle and joint injury, supports your body weight. However you will need to wear a bathing suit and this may be too intimidating for some people.
Working Out At Home
Working out at home eliminates any embarrassment but there are still important things to consider. First there will be no teacher to motivate you. You will probably be on your own when you are exercising so if you fall or push it too hard and feel ill, there may be no one to help you. Finally the equipment has to meet your needs both in durability, comfort, feedback and control.
One of the safest ways to exercise is sitting down, so a good recumbent exercise bike would be ideal. They are very comfortable with good back support. The recumbent position, with legs raised up onto the pedals, helps keep blood pressure down and they now have walk through frames making them very easy to mount.
Another form of exercise that is appropriate for the obese or severely overweight is walking. Therefore a treadmill is another option. However it needs to have excellent speed control and this can only be guaranteed on the more expensive models. The advantage of a treadmill to walking outside is that you never have to worry about the weather and if you do push it to far you only need to step off the treadmill, outside you have to get back home.
The machine should provide good feedback. This will help you monitor your progress and also provide motivation that is essential for a sustained exercise programme. One important monitoring device is a heart rate monitor. This will make sure you do not over do it and also show your fitness improvements. Some machines now have heart rate control, which makes sure you never push it beyond your limits.
Whatever you do you will need a good pair of trainers, to help cushion any impact on joints and muscles that are already under stress and also have plenty of water on hand. Overweight people tend to sweat more when exercising and thus need their liquids replenished frequently. Take it slow and easy and build up gradually. Do not be ashamed to exercise for short periods of time to begin with. Finally before you do anything get checked out by your GP.