How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

Last update: 2022-10-13

When searching for “How should an obese person start exercising?”, we realized that the information on the internet was quite chaotic and inconsistent. Some are even misleading!

That’s why we decided to consult our experienced health experts and also interviewed some famous doctors and fitness trainers for advice.

And, here it is!

Rethink About The Concept Of "Exercise"

Obese people don't have to work out like what is seen on The Biggest Loser.

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

According to Chris Gagliardi - a personal trainer and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise (ACE), people mistakenly believe that exercising like on TV is the norm to lose weight. You should focus on what you love to do and can do, not what other people are doing.

Find A Place To Exercise

It’s highly recommended to work out at the gym because it has all the necessary fitness equipment and machines.

Choose a fitness center where you feel the safest and friendliest, especially if you’re a beginner or non-experienced exerciser.

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

Working out at the park or at home is also not a bad choice but note that these places don’t have the necessary equipment or machines.

Consider Finding Support From An Experienced Personal Fitness Trainer

You’ll receive lots of benefits from a personal fitness trainer (PT).

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

The biggest is that you will have someone well-trained, experienced, and qualified to show you how to use the exercise machines and equipment safely.

They will also give you a scientifically tailored exercise plan, monitor your training progress, and correct any wrong exercise movements.

Therefore, risks of injuries are reduced significantly and your workouts will be more successful.

Many gyms will offer a few trial days of workouts with PT when you join. After that, you’ve got two options to consider – either pay for PT or exercise on your own. Take this chance to find out the right personal fitness trainer for you.


Once getting started, you should create a detailed plan that clearly states when, where, how, and for how long to exercise.

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

Make sure to always stick with whatever you have chosen.

Pay Attention To Your Joints

Obese puts a lot of strain on the joints. Therefore, when starting to work out, you should choose those activities that are friendly to your knees, ankles, and hips.

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

One of the most recommended activities for obese people is swimming.

Consider Exercise Intensity

Think of your training intensity on a scale of 1 to 10. Resting is level 1 and running at full speed is level 10. Consider how much your body can endure deciding the right exercise intensity for you.

You can test with a treadmill since it offers various speed settings to choose from.

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

Gradual Acceleration

Always keep in mind that "haste makes waste".

You should not exercise intensely when your body is not ready, otherwise, injuries could happen. Exercise (for everyone, not just obese people) requires lots of patience!

If you feel that walking 5 minutes a day is too easy, increase by 5 minutes, do both morning and afternoon walks, apply 3 times per week. Keep increasing it little by little until you reach 150 minutes of walking per week.

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

You may feel uncomfortable when exercising at first, which is completely normal.

But if the chosen exercises make you feel seriously painful, stop or lower the intensity because pain can be a sign that you've been injured or overstrained.

Which Exercises Are Suitable For Obese People?

According to Alicia O'Connor - a health expert who is currently working at the Health Care Center of the Medical University of South Carolina, obese people should start with strength-training exercises for the upper body, like push-ups.

Then, try knee exercises like the Glute Bridge

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

Banded Lateral Walk

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

Side Kick

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

Core training is also important for posture, alignment, and lower back pain relief. Let's start with 3 exercises - Quadruped, Bird Dog, and Forearm Plank.

Besides, here are some other options of exercising for obese people to start with:


A 185-pound person burns around 356 calories in one hour of walking at 3.5MPH, and 400 calories per hour at a brisker speed of 4.5MPH.

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

For beginners or people who have just returned to exercise, develop the habit of walking by regularly getting out, according to the American Council on Exercise.

Start with walking slowly and trying to regulate your breath.

Once the habit has already built up and you’re ready to step up the pace, create your walking program. Start with five minutes of walking at moderate speed, then, a brisk walking segment, and end with a 5-minute slow walk.

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

Walk 5 days/week. Start with 5 minutes of walking daily in the first week, then each next week, increase 2 more minutes of your brisk walking time.

Your goal should be 30 minutes of brisk walking time in week 12 and the total walking time/week is 150 minutes, based on the Centers for Disease Control.

Water Exercises

How Should An Obese Person Start Exercising?

For obese people, water exercises are considered to be significantly safer than land exercises. It’s because they cushion the joints while burning fat and calories, which reduces a lot of stress and potential injuries.

Besides, they cool you off during exercise for a longer training time.

Kick in with 10 minutes of water exercises. Remember to warm up beforehand.

Jumps, side shuffling across the pool, jumping jacks, slow jogging, or simply walking in the pool are best for beginners.

Or, you can frog kicks by holding a kick-board in front of you and tread the water, or practice dolphin or dog paddle.


When creating a workout plan for you, always consult with your doctor and PT firstly. Never overdo your workout and have a friend of yours to work out together with you for safety. Remember to monitor your heart rate!

That’s everything you need to know about “how should an obese person start exercising?”. Thanks for reading!

Nancy Lang
Nancy Lang

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