With more than one-third of American adults and about 17 percent of children and teens falling into the "obese" category, there's no denying the importance of exercise for getting back to, then maintaining, a healthy body weight. Obesity can make starting that exercise program challenging, but it's not impossible. Start by consulting a physician for advice about your exercise program and then choose a type of low-impact, low-intensity aerobic activity you enjoy.
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If you're obese, odds are that your body is used to a sedentary lifestyle. It'll adapt quickly to exercise, though -- as long as you give it a chance to do so. Instead of jumping right into intense workouts that might leave you sore and unable to continue working out, start with low-intensity cardiovascular exercise like walking, swimming, cycling or pedaling an elliptical trainer. These exercises are also low impact, which means your joints won't bear the impact of your body weight as much.
Work Up From There
As your body gets stronger, slowly increase the duration of your cardiovascular workouts. A good intermediate goal for healthy adults is one suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. But don't stop there -- if you want to lose weight, you'll eventually need to work up to longer workouts.