Active at Any Size
WOULD you like to be more physically active, but are not sure if you can do it? Good news—if you are a very large person, you can be physically active—and you can have fun and feel good doing 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. Facing these challenges is hard—but it can be done! The information in this booklet may help you start being more active and healthier—no matter what your size!
Why should I be active?
Do you suffer from: * type 2 diabetes * heart disease * stroke * high blood pressure ? REGULAR physical activity helps you feel better because it:
- Lowers your stress and boosts your mood.
- Increases your strength, movement, balance, and flexibility.
- Helps control blood pressure and blood sugar.
- Helps build healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
- Helps your heart and lungs work better.
- Improves your self-esteem.
- Boosts energy during the day and may aid in sleep at night.
TO start being more active, try these tips:
- Think about your barriers to being active. Then try to come up with creative ways to solve them.
- Start slowly. Your body needs time to get used to your new activity.
- Warm up. Warm-ups get your body ready for action. Shrug your shoulders, tap your toes, swing your arms, or march in place. You should spend a few minutes warming up for any physical activity—even walking. Walk slowly for the first few minutes.
- Cool down. Slow down little by little. If you have been walking fast, walk slowly or stretch for a few minutes to cool down. Cooling down may protect your heart, relax your muscles, and keep you from getting hurt.
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!
TO maintain your active lifestyle, try these suggestions:
- Set goals. Set short-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal may be to walk 5 to 10 minutes, 5 days a week. It may not seem like a lot, but any activity is better than none. A long-term goal should be to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. You can accumulate your physical activity in shorter segments of 10 minutes or more. An example of a long-term goal is to walk briskly on 5 days of the week by the end of 6 months.
- Set rewards. Whether your goal was to be active for 15 minutes a day, to walk farther than you did last week, or simply to stay positive, you deserve recognition for your efforts. Some ideas for rewards include a new CD to motivate you, new walking shoes, or a new outfit.
- Get support. Get a family member or friend to be physically active with you. It may be more fun, and your buddy can cheer you on and help you stick with it.
- Track progress. Keep a journal of your physical activity. You may not feel like you are making progress but when you look back at where you started, you may be pleasantly surprised! You can make copies of the blank journal at the end of this booklet to keep track of your efforts.