Running for Obese People

Running isn't reserved for thin people. Many obese people use running as a way to lose weight and stay slim. When you're not used to exercising, start gradually to give your body time to adjust to the new running routine, but it's easy to create a get-fit plan regardless of your weight.

A woman with a towel around her neck after a jog in the park. (Image: Witthaya/iStock/Getty Images)

Skip the Apple -- See Your Doctor

When you're obese and not used to strenuous exercise, don't get started without seeing your doctor. Tell him you want to start running to get fit. He's likely to perform a complete physical, checking your vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate. He might also take blood to test for items such as cholesterol levels, among other tests. Ask your doctor about any joint pain or problems to ensure running is the right exercise for you, and don't get started without his blessing.

Ready, Set, Walk

Running is the ultimate goal, but you're unlikely to get far if you're not used to it. Set a goal for six to eight weeks, and use that time to build endurance and strength to prepare your body for your running regimen. Brisk walking might be a challenge at first, but shoot for at least 20 minutes, slowing down or taking breaks if your breathing becomes so labored you can't carry on a conversation. Every few days, try to add five additional minutes to your walking time, speeding up to faster walking when you can, even if it's just for 30-second bursts.

Pump Up the Pace

When you can walk briskly for an hour, you're likely ready to add in some running without straining your joints or cardiovascular system. Walk normally to warm up for at least five minutes, then jog for 30 seconds. Walk for two minutes, then jog for 30 seconds. Continue this for the rest of your 60-minute walk. About twice a week, increase this time to 45 seconds of running for every two minutes of walking, then 60 seconds. When you hit the point that you're jogging for two minutes and walking for two minutes, tip the scales in the other direction by decreasing how much you walk by how much you run. For example, when you run for two minutes and 15 seconds, walk for one minute and 45 seconds. Continue until you're jogging the entire time, then increase your speed until you're running the route.

Helping Out the Run

If losing weight is your goal, pair your running routine with a healthy diet. Ask your doctor how many calories you should eat per day, which might change as you continue to lose weight. Stick to foods such as lean meat, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables. Combined with running, a healthy diet can help you drop pounds quickly. Remember to drink lots of water all day, especially during and after your run. The proper gear is also helpful, such as choosing well-fitting and supportive running shoes, comfortable clothing, and, for women, a sports bra that fits properly.

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