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:
- Weight-bearing activities, like walking, climbing stairs, and golfing, which involve lifting or pushing your own body weight.
- Nonweight-bearing activities, like swimming and water workouts, which put less stress on your joints because you do not have to lift or push your own weight. If your feet or joints hurt when you stand, nonweight-bearing activities may be best for you.
- Lifestyle activities, like gardening or washing the car, which are great ways to get moving. Lifestyle activities do not have to be planned out ahead of time.
Remember that physical activity does not have to be hard or boring to be good for you. Anything that gets you moving around—even for only a few minutes a day—is a healthy start to getting more fit. Walking (Weight Bearing) The walking that you do during the day (like doing chores around the house or in the yard) can help you become more fit. But regular, steady walking that makes you breathe heavier can help you to be healthier. It will give your heart and lungs—as well as your leg muscles—a good workout. Do I need to see my health care provider before I start being physically active?
You should talk to your health care provider if you:
Chances are your health care provider will be pleased with your decision to start an activity program. It is unlikely that you will need a complete medical exam before you go out for a short walk.
- Have a chronic disease or have risk factors for a chronic disease, such as asthma or diabetes.
- Have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a personal or family history of heart disease.
- Are pregnant.
- Are a smoker.
- Are unsure of your health status or have any concerns that exercise might be unsafe for you.
If you are not active now, start slowly. Try to walk 5 minutes a day for the first week. Walk 8 minutes the next week. Stay at 8-minute walks until you feel comfortable. Then increase your walks to 11 minutes. Slowly lengthen each walk by 3 minutes—or walk faster.
Tips for Walking
- Wear comfortable walking shoes with a lot of support. If you walk frequently, you may need to buy new shoes often. You may wish to speak with a podiatrist about when you need to purchase new walking shoes.
- Wear garments that prevent inner-thigh chafing, such as tights or spandex shorts.
- Make walking fun. Walk with a friend or pet. Walk in places you enjoy, like a park or shopping mall.
To learn more, read the brochure Walking...A Step in the Right Direction from the Weight-control Information Network (WIN). (This publication is available in English and Spanish.)
Dancing (Weight Bearing or Nonweight Bearing) Dancing may help:
- Tone your muscles.
- Improve flexibility.
- Make your heart stronger.
- Make your work better.
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 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:
- Helps flexibility. You can bend and move your body in water in ways you cannot on land.
- Reduces risk of injury. Water makes your body float. This keeps your joints from being pounded or jarred and helps prevent sore muscles and injury.
- Keeps you refreshed. You can keep cool in water—even when you are working hard.
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.