Active at Any Size
WOULD you like to be more physically active, but are not sure if you can do it?
THERE may be special challenges for very large people who are physically active. You may not be able to bend or move in the same way that other people can. It may be hard to find clothes and equipment for exercising. You may feel self-conscious being physically active around other people.
Why should I be active?
BEING physically active may help you live longer and protect you from:>
Being physically active can be a lot of fun!
REGULAR physical activity helps you feel better because it:
How do I get started?
TO start being more active, try these tips:
If you cannot do an activity, do not be hard on yourself. Feel good about what you can do. Be proud of pushing yourself up out of a chair or walking a short distance.
Pat yourself on the back for trying even if you cannot do it the first time. It may be easier the next time!
How do I continue to be active?
TO maintain your active lifestyle, try these suggestions:
What physical activities can a very large person do?
MOST very large people can do some or all of the physical activities in this booklet. You do not need special skills or a lot of equipment. You can do:
Walking (Weight Bearing)
Walking may help you:
You should talk to your health care provider if you:
Dancing (Weight Bearing or Nonweight Bearing)
Dancing may help:
You can dance in a health club, in a nightclub, or at home. To dance at home, just move your body to some lively music!
Dancing on your feet is a weight-bearing activity. Dancing while seated is a nonweight-bearing activity. Sometimes called chair dancing, this activity lets you move your arms and legs to music while taking the weight off your feet. This may be a good choice if you cannot stand on your feet for a long time.
Water Workouts (Nonweight Bearing)
Exercising in water:
You do not need to know how to swim to work out in water-you can do shallow-water or deep-water exercises without swimming.
For shallow-water workouts, the water level should be between your waist and your chest. If the water is too shallow, it will be hard to move your arms underwater. If the water is deeper than chest-height, it will be hard to keep your feet on the pool bottom.
For deep-water workouts, most of your body is underwater. This means that your whole body will get a good workout. For safety and comfort, wear a foam belt or life jacket.
Many swim centers offer classes in water workouts. Check with the pools in your area to find the best water workout for you.
You can do many activities in your home. But there are other fun places to be active, including health clubs, recreation centers, or outdoors. It may be hard to be physically active around other people. Keep in mind that you have just as much right to be healthy and active as anyone else.
Weight Training (Weight Bearing or Nonweight Bearing)
Weight training may help you:
You do not need benches or bars to begin weight training at home. You can use a pair of hand weights or even two soup cans.
To make sure you are using the correct posture, and that your movements are slow and controlled, you may want to schedule a session with a personal trainer. Ask your health care provider for a referral to a personal trainer. You may need to check with your health insurer about whether this service is covered by your plan.
If you decide to buy a home gym, check its weight rating (the number of pounds it can support) to make sure it is safe for your size. If you want to join a fitness center where you can use weights, shop around for one where you feel at ease.
If you cannot lift a weight six times in a row, the weight you are lifting is too heavy. If you can easily lift a weight 15 times in a row, your weight is too light.
Bicycling (Nonweight Bearing)
You can bicycle indoors on a stationary bike, or outdoors on a road bike. Biking does not stress any one part of the body-your weight is spread among your arms, back, and hips.
You may want to use a recumbent bike. On this type of bike, you sit low to the ground with your legs reaching forward to the pedals. This may feel better than sitting upright. The seat on a recumbent bike is also wider than the seat on an upright bike.
For biking outdoors, you may want to try a mountain bike. These bikes have wider tires and are heavy. You can also buy a larger seat to put on your bike.
Make sure the bike you buy has a weight rating at least as high as your own weight.
Yoga (Weight Bearing or Nonweight Bearing)
Yoga may help you:
Lifestyle physical activities do not have to be planned. You can make small changes to make your day more physically active and improve your health. For example:
If you can do only a few or none of these activities, it is OK. Appreciate what you can do, even if you think it is a small amount. Doing any movement-even for a short time-can make you healthier. Remember, each activity you do is a step toward a more active lifestyle.
Safety TipsTips for Safe Physical Activity
Stop your activity right away if you:
Slow down if you feel out of breath.The "Talk Test" is an easy way to monitor your physical activity intensity:
Drink fluids regularly while you are being physically active. Water or other fluids will help keep you hydrated when you are sweating.
Healthy, fit bodies come in all sizes. Whatever your size or shape, get physically active now and keep moving for a healthier you!