Workouts for the Morbidly Obese

Workouts for the Morbidly Obese

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Riding a stationary bike is effective for fat loss and easy on your joints.

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Individuals with a body mass index, or BMI, of 40 or greater are considered morbidly obese. If you are morbidly obese, you are at serious risk for many diseases and health conditions. However, choosing to exercise regularly is a step in a positive direction. Even a small weight loss -- just 10 percent of your current weight -- can help lower your risk for disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Just Walk

Jumping right into a high-intensity exercise such as weightlifting is not a sustainable or safe idea. Instead, start with a low-intensity exercise like walking. Begin with a 15-minute walk three times a week to help assess your current fitness level. Once you become more accustomed to walking, you can increase your walking time to 30 minutes three times a week. Your final goal should be to complete a 30-minute brisk walk every day of the week.

Low-Impact Exercises

Carrying around extra body fat puts significant pressure on the knee and hip joints. Low-impact exercises that are easy on the joints can be a great way to help you shed some pounds. The stationary bike or elliptical machine are both examples of low-impact exercises. Similar to the progression you would follow for a walking program, start a stationary bike or elliptical program by using the machines only a few times a week for 20 minutes at a low-resistance level. As you become more fit, you can gradually increase the duration and resistance of the exercise.

Resistance Machines

Although walking and low-impact exercises are effective tools for weight loss, incorporating resistance training is crucial, too. Using free weights like dumbbells or barbells is an example of resistance training; however, this type of training requires substantial balance and strength. Therefore, start with resistance machines before jumping to free weights. Although a variety of machines are available to choose from, make sure to use one that works each body part. For each exercise, choose a weight light enough to allow you to perform 20 repetitions for three sets with ease. As you become stronger, you can increase the weight and lower your repetitions to 15 .

Advancing to Free Weights

After you have built some strength using resistance machines, you can transition to free weights. Work your larger muscles by performing compound movements -- for example, the shoulder press and bench press -- which work more than one muscle at a time. As with other types of exercise and training, start your free weight program with high repetitions and light weight. Free weights require more stabilizer, or helper, muscles than resistance machines do, so seek advice from a qualified personal trainer who can make sure you are carrying out the movements effectively and safely.