The treadmill offers a safe and effective way for obese individuals to exercise.
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Exercise is important for everyone, at any weight, but there are some factors you should consider if you have obesity. Excess weight can be tough on your joints, so you might have more difficulty doing some higher-impact exercises than a lighter person. But don't worry - there are plenty of ways for you to get a great workout that will improve your health and make you feel your best.
Being consistent with your exercise efforts is important in building endurance and allowing your body to adapt to the stress of treadmill exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine notes that frequency of exercise is more important than the intensity of a session for obese individuals and recommends that you get in a treadmill session four to five days per week. Being consistent with your treadmill workouts will also help instill healthy exercise habits that you'll be more likely to keep up over the long term.
Get in Enough Minutes
As you start out with your treadmill workouts, shoot for a total of 30 minutes on your workout days. After a few weeks of consistent sessions, bump up your duration by five minutes until you're doing a total of 60 minutes. Thirty minutes may be challenging, but you receive the same health benefits by splitting up the 30 minutes into shorter, separate walking workouts. For example, you could do three 10-minute workouts. This principle can be applied when you kick up the duration as well. When it comes time to do 40 minutes, for example, you could do your 30-minute treadmill workout in the morning and another 10 minutes at the end of the day.
Keep Intensity Low
To reduce the stress on your joints, keep your treadmill workout intensity low. Although you may be tempted to incorporate jogging into your workouts, keep your pace at a walk. When you run or jog, there's a moment where your body is completely off the treadmill belt, so when you land, the load of your body-weight is sent through your landing leg. When walking, however, you're never completely off the treadmill belt, so walking places minimal stress on your joints. Begin and finish your treadmill workouts with five minutes of low-intensity walking so that your body can adjust to the increase and decrease intensity of the workout. During your walking workout, stay at a pace where you can talk comfortably, but would struggle if trying to maintain a full conversation.
Prioritize Your Safety
You may be more susceptible to heat exhaustion because excess weight can make it more difficult to regulate your body temperature - which means you might sweat more than you would at a lighter weight. Keep a bottle of water close by during your treadmill workouts and take sips throughout your session. Wear light clothing during your workouts. Despite the common myth, how much you sweat makes no impact on how many calories you burn. If you feel nausea, reduce your pace until you feel better.