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Best Exercise for Morbidly Obese People to Lose Weight

author image Linda Ray
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."
Best Exercise for Morbidly Obese People to Lose Weight
A female doctor is consulting an overweight patient. Photo Credit: Jami Garrison/iStock/Getty Images

Obesity is a serious health condition that can lead to diabetes, heart disease and other medical complications. The Highland Hospital Bariatric Surgery Center defines morbid obesity as having a body mass index of over 40 or being over 100 pounds overweight. Minor weight loss can begin to reduce the effects of obesity and lead to healthier benefits. In addition to a balanced, low-calorie diet, you must include physical activity to lose weight. The morbidly obese should start slowly on an exercise plan and increase the time and intensity of workouts as they gain strength.

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Many people who are morbidly obese have medical conditions and disabilities that require physician monitoring. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, if you are morbidly obese, you should undergo a stress test to identify your current level of fitness prior to starting an exercise regimen. A stress test can help your doctor determine a base level from which you should begin to prevent injuries and overexertion that could lead to further complications.


Anyone who has not exercised in a while or who begins a new exercise program will feel some discomfort. Muscles that haven't been used can become painful when engaged. An appropriate exercise for the morbidly obese may include some discomfort, but should not create significant lasting pain. Muscle reaction typically is delayed and felt the day following exercise. Any physical activity that causes pain while you are doing it and continues the next day should be stopped and reported to your doctor.


For many with an excess of 100 pounds or more, bariatric, or weight loss, surgery is one way to shed weight and reduce the risk of developing debilitating diseases. While the surgery shrinks the size of the stomach to reduce the person's ability to eat excessively, exercise is an important tool to build muscles and endurance. According to the journal "Orthopedics," exercise performed prior to the surgery also can help to speed up recovery and help patients become more efficiently active. Exercises that can prepare patients for a more successful surgery include swimming, biking, water aerobics and walking.


Any physical movement can burn calories and help you lose weight. Morbidly obese patients are encouraged to increase movement. According to the journal "Orthopedics," however, exercise for muscle building, endurance and calorie burning are those activities that fall outside of the scope of everyday activities. Walking to and from the bathroom doesn't count as exercise, although walking around the block does count.


The benefits of weight loss include improved cardiovascular performance, increased endurance and overall general well-being and are best achieved through regular, structured exercise. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the possible consequences of exercising when you're morbidly obese include a heart attack, cardiac arrest or high blood pressure. The benefits of starting an exercise program outweigh the risks, however, and risks reduce rapidly as you build endurance.

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