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Exercise Plans for People Very Overweight

author image Kim Nunley
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.
Exercise Plans for People Very Overweight
Overweight people can exercise. Photo Credit: CHATCHAI_KIMTONG/iStock/Getty Images

Physical activity is paramount if you’re very overweight. Participating in regular exercise will improve your health, not to mention your outlook, moods and the way you see yourself. Don’t worry that you have to dive into activities that are beyond your current fitness level; start small and be persistent. For the first few months, it’s that persistence that’s going to carry you farther than your legs.

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Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can help you lose body fat and increase your longevity. It will significantly lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Improvements in self-confidence and mood have also been linked to regular physical activity.

Mode of Exercise

If you’re very overweight, avoid activities that are high impact, such as jogging. Landing while you’re carrying an excess amount of weight can be hard on your joints. Instead, participate in low- or non-impact activities, such as walking, swimming and biking. You can also incorporate lifestyle activities, such as washing your car and gardening, which will improve your fitness level. If you’re self-conscious about being active in front of others, try activities that you can do at home.

Intensity and Duration

Start your program at a low intensity and for short durations. Exercise three to four days per week. Begin with 10 to 15 minutes of activity at a lower intensity until you build endurance and can comfortably exercise for longer periods. Eventually, it would be most beneficial to progressively increase your exercise time, adding five minutes per week until you can exercise for a total of 60 minutes. To know that you’re exercising at the appropriate intensity when you establish an endurance base, imagine that you’re with someone while exercising. You should be able to talk, but holding a full conversation would be somewhat difficult because of your breathing rate.

Additional Physical Activity

It’s also possible to break your exercise sessions into multiple shorter sessions. Throughout the day, take two- to three-minute walking breaks while you’re at work. This will not only cause you to burn more calories and increase your fitness level, but it will increase your overall metabolism and you’ll burn more calories throughout the rest of the day because of it.


Visit a medical professional and receive a physical before starting an exercise program to ensure that you’re in adequate health. Stop exercising immediately if you suffer pain, tightness or pressure in your chest, neck, shoulder or arm, feel dizzy or nauseous or are extremely short of breath. If you’re using walking as your mode of exercise, purchase a quality pair of walking shoes, which will adequately support you and your joints.

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