Getting your own exercise machine lets you work out privately.
When you're obese, working out can be as much a mental challenge as a physical one. Even when you know exactly what you're supposed to do and that the gym has everything you need, it's still very common to feel shy -- or even embarrassed -- about the idea of working out in public. You can ease your transition into an active lifestyle and simultaneously build the strength and endurance you need to make everyday activities easier by working out at home.
Start Slow and Simple
If you want to see long-term benefits from your workouts, they're going to have to become long-term habits. As a general rule, start with simple workouts you know you can succeed at, then gradually increase the length and intensity from there. Although you should strength-train two or three times a week, your muscles need at least a full day of rest between strength-training workouts. So focus on cardio workouts, which you can do every day, to help you create a consistent workout habit. Finally, before anything else, check in with your doctor. She can recommend a good starting point and also educate you about any limitations you should follow. If you struggle with simple movements, a physical therapist can help you build the strength and endurance to literally get back on your feet.
Calisthenics for an Obese Body
Walking is one of the best ways for obese people to start working out -- if you have the room, you can walk laps in your backyard or inside the house. If you don't have the room or the desire to walk at home, use low-impact calisthenics to get your cardio in without subjecting your joints to the repeated pounding of high-impact exercises. Low-impact cardio workouts that don't require any special equipment include dancing, shadowboxing and modified calisthenics: Think jumping jacks with a step to the side instead of a hop, or fast, high knees with just one foot off the ground at a time. If you can't do calisthenics with your full body, try doing just the upper-body component, such as boxing or doing jumping jacks with your arms alone.
A Word About Machines
If you can afford to buy a home exercise machine, you'll be guaranteeing yourself immediate access to a workout at any time of day. Ensure you invest in a machine that is built to support your weight. If you have a television habit, consider replacing your easy chair or couch with equipment such as a recumbent exercise bike, treadmill or elliptical trainer instead; that way you can have your television and your workout, too.
Bodyweight workouts strengthen your body for the sort of movements you make in everyday life, and you don't have to worry about purchasing special equipment. Start by doing pushups at an incline. Rest both hands on the edge of the kitchen counter or the back of your couch, walk your feet back, keep your body in a straight line and bend your arms to lower your chest toward the counter or couch. Straighten your arms to complete the repetition. Other bodyweight workouts you can do include modified planks -- that is, holding the start of that inclined pushup position -- squats and lunges, holding onto the back of a sturdy chair for balance if need be.
If you'd rather lift weights, dumbbells are the easiest type of resistance to maneuver around your body. As a bonus, you can use your dumbbells in a variety of positions: Sitting, lying down or standing. The major exercises to aim for include chest presses, dumbbell rows, seated shoulder presses and biceps curls. You can do the chest presses lying on the bed -- it's easier than getting up and down from a weight bench -- or, if need be, stick to seated and standing exercises until it's a little easier to get up and down. If you work out regularly and follow your doctor's instructions, it won't be long before you start seeing results.
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