Mobility Exercises for the Obese


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Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the developed world. Processed foods and food abundance coupled with sedentary jobs and lifestyles have produced a generation of people who are not merely overweight, but actively obese – and dealing with the side-effects and associated diseases.

Mobility Exercises for the Obese
Mobility Exercises for the Obese

For example, in England alone almost 10% of 4 and 5-year-olds are obese. You can find out some more statistics on obesity rates in the UK on the NHS website. While much attention is paid to diabetes and heart conditions resulting from obesity, one of the more insidious and ignored problems caused by obesity is a lack of mobility.

Mobility issues associated with obesity can range from simply finding it difficult to manage walking any length or climbing stairs to hip and joint problems that severely limit mobility and agility, even in people who are relatively young.

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While the number-one prescription for assuaging these issues is a healthy diet, a healthy exercise plan, and weight loss, there are specific exercise routines that can be followed before weight loss is achieved that can help mobility tremendously in the short-term.

The good news is that for obese people who are working and have little time for exercise regimens, there are some very easy exercises that can improve mobility while easing you into a healthier lifestyle that includes regular exercise.

In-Home Exercise

Many obese people, aside from having a limited schedule of modern life, are also somewhat self-conscious about working out in public with others.

Mobility Exercises for the Obese
Mobility Exercises for the Obese

There are several exercises that can be performed in the home or in an office that is also performed from a seated position, which is also encouraging to people suffering from obesity because their joints are often painful from the extra weight being carried around:

  • Stand Up. The first tip is not an exercise per se but is more of a lifestyle adjustment: Sitting at a desk all day is bad for anyone at any weight, and contributes directly to obesity and mobility issues. As much as your joints can take it, stand while working. Special stand-up desks can be purchased, and any normal desk can be transformed into a stand-up desk with the addition of a shelf for keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
  • The Leg Lift. This simple exercise can help with joint mobility and lower body strength. While seated, extend one leg straight out. Hold for two seconds, then lift it as high as you can and hold it for another two seconds. Repeat with each leg 15 times.
  • The Chair Push Up. Cross your legs on the seat of the chair, place both hands on the armrests, and lift your whole body up from the seat. Hold for twenty seconds, then rest for thirty. Repeat five times.

Outside the Chair Exercises

There’s only so much you can do in the confines of a house. If you are serious about increasing your mobility while dealing with obesity, it’s best to get out:

  • Swimming. Swimming is an ideal exercise for people dealing with mobility issues. The buoyancy of the water makes exercise easier, especially for those already suffering from joint pain and other mobility issues. Simply getting into the water and swimming for half an hour every day can have a real impact on your overall health and your joint mobility.
  • Floor Exercises. Getting out of the chair gives you a bit more flexibility and room for impact. Lying on your back, bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Now straighten one leg and raise it to the height of the other knee and hold it for a few seconds, then let it go back down and rest for a few seconds, Repeat as often as you can. Speed doesn’t help – take your time. You can also start from this same position, with your arms flat at your sides, then extend both legs out, suspended over the floor and hold for a few seconds.

The key for anyone suffering from obesity – aside from taking steps to lose weight – is to move. While anyone can suffer from a sedentary lifestyle, movement becomes absolutely essential when you are dealing with extra weight straining your joints and muscles.


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