Right now, there's not a lot of equipment out there specifically for obese and/or overweight people. While I believe that will change as the demand grows, there are some options for people who prefer to exercise at home. Below are some great products I often use with many of my overweight and obese clients:
Recumbent Bikes and Cross-Trainers
Recumbent bikes are great for people who need support while they exercise. One product on the market is the Recumbent Cross Trainer, which offers an alternative to endless pedaling. This machine is more like a stepper than a bike and it allows you to work your upper body and lower body at the same time without stressing your joints. It accommodates a variety of body types and sizes, but it's also a bit pricey, so that's something to consider if you're on a budget.
If you spend any time on my site, you know how much I love exercise balls. I use them with all my clients, but really enjoy using them with my obese clients to help them work on balance, stability and abdominal strength. Some of the basic exercises you can try include sitting on the ball (try watching TV for a while and you'll feel your body working a little harder than usual), marching, or balancing by lifting one foot off the floor, holding, and then lifting the other foot. There are some great burst-resistant balls out there, many of which will hold up to 1,000 pounds. Check out Ball Dynamic's great selection of burst-resistant exercise balls.
I use a pedal exerciser much like this with one of my clients, and she gets a great cardio workout without having to try to maneuver herself onto the recumbent bike. They do have some fancier models out there, but this one works just as well and you can adjust the tension to make it easier or harder to pedal. With my client, I simply have her pedal for as long as she can, rest, and then repeat 5 or more times. We keep track of her revolutions each week to track her improvement. (For the record, she started out with about 150 revolutions and she's now at well over 500.) You can pedal with your hands if you're not able to use your feet, which is another way to get your heart rate up and work on your cardio endurance.
If walking is your exercise of choice, a pedometer can be very motivating. One of my clients spends much of her daylight hours sitting in front of a computer at work. Though she did great in her personal training sessions, it was hard to get her to be more active in her daily life. We finally got her a pedometer and a journal and gave her a goal of getting in at least 50 steps every hour. She set an alarm to go off every hour, slapped on her pedometer and took a walk around the building. It was hit-or-miss at first, but now she walks well over 100 steps an hour and she's more productive now that she gives herself a break. She's lost 50 pounds with diet and exercise, and having that pedometer was just one part of her success.
Exercise Videos and Information
- Yoga for Round Bodies
- Leslie Sansone's In Home Walking Videos
- Sit and Be Fit Series
- Strength Training for Sedentary Adults
For more videos, visit Collage Video for an excellent selection of home exercise videos. You can also check out this Seated Full Body Workout, a complete total body workout using resistance bands, dumbbells and a medicine ball that can be done from a seated position.
If you're obese or overweight, you sometimes have to be creative when it comes to exercise. There are many people talking about exercise and urging you to do it, but they aren't telling you exactly what to do if you can't do traditional exercises. The key is to find something that is comfortable for you, something you enjoy and something you'll continue to do over time. Remember to get checked out by your doctor before you begin exercising, especially if you have any health conditions or are on any type of medication.