Scan any fitness magazines or workout website, and you'll notice a trend: Lots of young, super-fit people smiling as they sweat through extreme training programs. But people who are overweight or obese may not be comfortable completing those types of exercises—the moves could even be dangerous if you're not already fit.
"When you're carrying a lot of weight, lunges and lots of other traditional exercises can be painful," says Michelle Steinke, a certified personal trainer, sports nutrition specialist, and founder of 1fw Training and the non-profit One Fit Widow.
Most physical trainers and coaches agree that: "Things a trainer would do with a smaller-sized person shouldn't be done with someone who is carrying excess weight." Even basic aerobic exercise can be difficult if you have 50 or more pounds to lose, Steinke says. (If you're struggling to lose weight, the Body Fat Breakthrough could be the answer you need. Check it out!)
However, strength training using just your body weight or light hand weights is often a great approach to getting in shape for people who have a lot of weight to lose, Steinke says. "I struggled with weight loss myself for years," she says. After reaching 206 pounds, Steinke rededicated herself to health and eventually dropped almost a third of her weight.
"You don't have to do some crazy training program to change your life," she says. "Exercise is about feeling good and feeling energetic and enjoying being healthy."
Here, she breaks down 9 exercises that are simple, safe and effective at every size.
LOWER BODY - Donkey Kicks
Works butt muscles, hamstrings, and core
Start on your hands and knees, aligning your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
Keeping your core tight and your left knee bent, raise your left foot toward the ceiling until your thigh is parallel with the floor. Take care to keep your neck and back aligned—don't drop or raise your head or arch your back. Return to starting position. Do 15 to 20 repetitions with each leg.
Works hips and butt muscles
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Your hands should be palms-down at your sides.
Now tighten your core muscles and lift your hips toward the ceiling by pressing your heels against the floor. Hold for five to 10 seconds and slowly lower your hips to the floor. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Standing Hip Extension
Works butt muscles, hips, and hamstrings
Stand with your hands on the back of a sturdy chair.ITH BAUMGARD )
Now raise your left leg behind you, keeping your toes pointed at the floor while trying to lift your leg to hip height, keeping your back straight and your gaze straight ahead. Then slowly lower your leg and foot back down until your foot is almost—but not quite—resting on the floor. Repeat this move 20 to 30 times, and then switch legs.
Side-Lying Leg Raise
Works the sides of the butt and hips
Lie on your left side with your body in a straight line, knees together and your head supported on your left forearm.
Hold your core tight and slowly lift your right leg as high as you can—keep your neck still and relaxed through. Pause, and then slowly lower your leg to starting position. Repeat 20 to 30 times, and then switch sides.
CORE - Bird Dog
On your hands and knees, align your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under the hips.
Hold your core tight and simultaneously raise your right arm straight out in front of you and your left leg straight out behind you. Hold for 3 seconds and then slowly lower your arm and leg back to starting position. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
UPPER BODY - Seated Hammer Curls
Works biceps and forearms
Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor and a dumbbell in each hand, hanging by your side; your palms facing your body. This is your starting position.
Slowly curl your right arm up toward your shoulders, taking care to keep your back straight and your head still. Pause at the top of the motion and then slowly lower thedumbbell back to starting position. Repeat with your left arm. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions for each side.
Triceps Kickback - Works triceps
Facing a chair, hold a dumbbell in your left hand and bend at the waist until you can place your right hand on the chair for support. Your back and left upper arm should be roughly parallel with the floor; let the dumbbell hang down at a right angle to your upper arm.
Tighten your core and raise the dumbbell behind you until your arm is straight. Take care to keep your elbow and upper arm as motionless as possible. Pause at the top of the motion, and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 times and then switch sides.
Wall Push-ups - Works chest, arms, core, back, and shoulders
Stand arm's length away from a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Place your palms flat on the wall and, keeping your body straight and your core engaged, inhale and lean toward the wall. Hold for a second before slowly pushing yourself back to starting position while exhaling. Repeat 10 to 15 times. If this seems too easy, you can increase the angle by pressing up from a sturdy table or bench, or do modified push-ups on the floor from your knees.
Side-Lying Lateral Arm Raise - Works shoulder muscles
Lie on your left side with your left elbow on the floor, left forearm supporting your head. Your body should be straight and your knees together. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand at your side, your palm facing down.
Now slowly raise the weight toward the ceiling, keeping your arm straight. When your arm is pointed at the ceiling and the weight is at its highest point, pause and slowly return to starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 times, and then switch sides.
None of the exercises mentioned and recommended above, if done sensibly will cause any health risks providing you first get checked out by your family physician and he gives you the go-ahead to proceed with exercises. It is always important to keep in mind your current physical condition and work your body accordingly.
Exercise Suggestions were offered by MARKHAM HEID