5 Ways to Safely Start Exercising When You're Overweight and Sedentary

Exercise can truly seem daunting, especially if you’re a true beginner. Seeing fit people lift heavy weights and run marathons may discourage or intimidate you, but Dr. Robert Snow of Snow Bariatric Center wants you to know that exercise is attainable for everyone. If you’re overweight or obese and have been living  a sedentary lifestyle, weight loss is critical to your health, and all sensible weight loss programs include regular exercise. 

If that sounds intimidating, we understand. Everyone starts somewhere — and you can safely start with these five steps. Before you know it, you might be a marathoner yourself. 

1. Start simple

Want to know the simplest type of exercise you can do? Walk. That’s it. Walking is highly underrated as a form of exercise — it’s accessible, it’s totally free, and it’s arguably the most functional human movement pattern of all. 

You can also perform simple seated exercises if walking feels like too much at first. For example, while sitting in a sturdy chair, practice marching your knees. This will help strengthen your quad muscles and hips and prepare you for walking. 

2. Start small 

Set tiny — truly tiny — goals for yourself if you haven’t exercised before. Here are some examples of small fitness goals you can set: 

Starting small is critical to long-term success: If you try to do too much, too soon, you might end up resenting exercise and discontinuing your plan. 

3. Hire a professional 

If you’re a true beginner to exercise, it’s definitely worth investing in a professional fitness trainer or even a physical therapist who can show you how to move safely and correctly. The last thing you want to do is put yourself back on the figurative bench for weeks due to an injury you sustained while exercising. 

4. Choose something you love

Finding a type of physical activity that you genuinely enjoy will set you up for long-term success. No one is likely to stick to exercise they despise. Plus, when you choose an activity you love, you’re more likely to pay attention to your form and technique. 

5. Gradually increase your efforts

As you get stronger and build more endurance, you can start to increase the duration and intensity of your exercise. Just remember not to do too much at once. Most fitness professionals will recommend that you only manipulate one factor at a time. For example, if you’ve been walking one mile in 20 minutes, you can choose to either increase your distance or your duration — not both. Gradual increases in effort can help prevent injury and exercise burnout.

Interested in starting an exercise routine? Schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Snow today by calling one of our convenient Texas locations or request an appointment online

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