When you’re on the heavy side and want to lose weight, more often than not, you get into a long list of to-dos right away. Perhaps you’ll enroll in a gym or sign up in virtual classes, do high-intensity workouts, and then exercise until you feel you’re running out of breath.
Definitely, you’ll sweat a lot and probably lose a few extra pounds in the first month. But this strategy can be detrimental for you in the long-term. Instead, ease your way into any exercise.
Why Heavy People Should Take It Slow
Depending on your weight, you can give yourself a nice head start if you want to engage in moderate physical activity. For instance, some slimming centers these days offer less-invasive methods like laser lipo.
Now, what is laser lipo? Unlike traditional liposuction, which uses cannulas, laser lipo blasts heat into the targeted area. The heat will then melt the fat cells and eventually destroy the tissues that hold them. They then proceed to the lymph nodes, so the blood can collect them and remove them as regular wastes from the body.
Depending on the targeted area, each session may kill between 25% and 80% of fat cells. Overall, based on some surveys, at least 50% of those who underwent this treatment are satisfied with the results.
However, if you’re morbidly obese, you may not be the best candidate for laser lipo initially. You may consider dropping a few more pounds before you proceed with the procedure. Working out too can help you extend the benefits of a more sculpted body.
Note, though, that engaging in strenuous activities can do more harm than good. One of the biggest problems will be on the joints.
As the body accumulates more fat, it can add more pressure on the joints and bones. According to Creaky Joints, every excess pound can add at least 3 pounds of extra force to these body parts. If you are 30 pounds overweight, that equates to almost 100 pounds of extra pressure!
When you exert a lot of effort during the exercise, you are only adding more pressure on the joints. This and the extra weight make them more prone to injuries.
Struggling to Breathe?
If you’re obese, you may find yourself struggling to breathe even if you take a few steps up the stairs. It could be due to a couple of reasons.
First, fat can accumulate in many parts of the body, including the chest wall and the diaphragm. The added weight can add more pressure in these areas that the muscles need to work a lot harder to get a full breath at a faster speed.
Second, one study showed a direct correlation between obesity and respiratory dysfunction. Based on the results of their experiments, obesity affects the manner of breathing in two ways:
- It increases the risk of the buildup of more fat cells and collagen that cause the muscles in the diaphragm to become fibrotic. Thus, it struggles to contract when you want to catch a breath.
- Obesity can activate a cell type that stimulates the production of both collagen and fat cells.
Third, other studies mentioned an association between low oxygen levels and body mass index—that is, the heavier you are, the more likely you have decreased oxygenation. It then forces you to breathe more frequently to compensate.
In other types of research, experts suggest that fat accumulation, especially in the abdominal area (known as visceral fat), can trigger the release of hormones that can affect breathing. It may even change the way your brain processes this function.
So What Kind of Exercise Can You Do?
The easiest and simplest exercise you can do if you’re trying to lose weight is walking. This is low-impact, so it’s easy on the joints, but it also trains them to be more flexible and prepared for more moderate exercises later.
With walking, you can also easily change the pace, depending on your capacity to breathe. If you need to catch some air, you can walk more slowly.
Other options include swimming and yoga. Swimming, in particular, is a full-body workout since you use your arms, legs, and abdomen to move across the waters. It can also burn a lot of calories. Swimming slowly can already use up to 400 calories per hour.
You can also engage in more active movements, like dancing. But as a beginner, you can do it for at least 10 minutes a day. As you build up the stamina and endurance, you can add more minutes until you can do a half-hour daily.
In the end, to reap the benefits of any exercise, consistency is key. You can likely stick to the new regimen if you can prevent any injury and not wear yourself out immediately.