For people who are struggling with low mobility or severe obesity, even the simplest of exercises can be overwhelming. Despite their strong desire to lose weight and get in shape, the physical difficulties with traditional exercises leaves them frustrated and feeling hopeless. As a result the people who need to start an exercise program the most often give up before they even start.
"Research has shown that 10 minute activity recesses incorporated into daily living have significant effects on weight-loss and disease reduction/prevention," says fitness expert Stacey Grant who was kind enough to share her thoughts on helping obese people get started on a fitness program.
Incorporating these ten minute recesses into their life should be easy. Simple chores that people do every day are enhanced to add a little bit of difficulty to them. This helps the person get started on a very simple exercise plan.
"People who are classified as obese have trouble with sustained movement so moving about their homes and work areas in small increments can be extremely effective," Grant says. "Although formal exercises will be helpful down the road, moving about more should be the goal."
An important part of any exercise program is stretching. If the person can move their arms or legs, then they can stretch. Stretching helps limber up muscles, improve joint mobility, and can reduce pain caused by stress or tension. While stretching seems almost too easy, it is a very real exercise with very real benefits.
Grant recommends the following stretches for obese people or people with low mobility. Most of these can be completed while seated and should be repeated two times.
* Toe reach (reach for your toes, bending at the waist)
* Side bends (Bend to one side or the other while keeping the rest of the body straight)
* Ceiling reaches (Raise both arms and pretend you are trying to touch the ceiling)
* Arm across the body stretch (Have one arm reach across your body like you are trying to pick up something with your left hand while your right is full)
* Waist Twists (Turn your torso to the left and right while keeping your arms and legs still)
* Walk-in place
When stretching the exerciser should be careful not to strain the muscles. Over stretching (stretching the muscles too far) is a common mistake of new exercisers. The exerciser should not stretch to the point of pain, and they should not "bounce" while stretching. The muscle should be stretched slightly, held in that position for a count of 20, and then relaxed.
"The next ten minute recess could be walking to the mailbox a few times or to the entrance of their neighborhood. Once they have tried that once or twice, I would then suggest that they try it while carrying first a jug of milk then 2 gallon jugs of milk in each hand" Grant says. The exerciser is starting off by doing things that they normally do, but doing it a few extra times at first and then later making it more challenging by adding weight or repetition.
"The final ten minute suggestion would be to hold on to a chair or a counter and perform basic squats 10-15 times for two sets followed by those morning stretches." Squats build leg muscles, which are the largest and some of the most important muscles in the body.
Anyone who is exercising, no matter their skill level, needs to make sure they are watching their body for warning signs of over exertion.
"When exercising, it is best to start at a slow, manageable pace that you can build on instead of a strenuous one that will eventually cause you to burn out," Stacey Grant says. "Some discomfort is to be expected as your muscles stretch and reshape themselves however sharp pains and ripping sensations are not a normal part of exercise and could be evidence of a muscle injury."
Even if the exerciser does not feel immediate pain, they should monitor their overall well being for signs of over exertion or strain.
"The term over-training is synonymous with 'burn-out' and is characterized by tender muscles, overall achiness and deep fatigue. The symptoms of over-training can sometimes be similar to the 'run down' feeling one gets when you're coming down with a cold."
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