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How to Motivate Obese People to Exercise

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
How to Motivate Obese People to Exercise
Offer a structured plan to help motivate those who are obese. Photo Credit: esolla/iStock/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention applies the term "obese" to any individual with a body mass index of 30 or above. Since currently 1/3 of all adults are considered obese, there's a good chance obesity affects you in an indirect way through friends and family members. If someone you love is obese, the toll on his health can be devastating. Motivate him to begin exercising to help lower his weight and his risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes and death.

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Step 1

Schedule or arrange for a doctor's appointment for your loved one. Not only is it helpful for him to hear about his plight from a medical professional, it's also the safest way to begin an exercise program. The doctor will give a general physical to ensure he's healthy enough for exercise and even suggest several safe exercises. Use the information from the appointment to begin planning an exercise program.

Step 2

Create a structured plan for daily exercise. Your friend needs 30 minutes of exercise per day, but if she cannot sustain exercise for that long, it might be advantageous to break exercise up into more manageable thirds. By exercising just 10 minutes at a time, your friend sustains exercise while getting the full amount she needs to see a change.

Step 3

Suggest methods of exercise that you know your friend will both enjoy and be able to sustain. Since his body has been affected by the excess weight, avoid high impact exercises which put pressure on his joints. Some excellent methods of exercise include water aerobics, walking, using an elliptical, yoga and tai chi. As your friend loses weight and becomes healthier, she can then try higher intensity workouts.

Step 4

Offer your support by exercising together. Obesity can be an isolating condition and simply telling your friend he needs to exercise could make him feel worse. Instead, make exercise a social activity where you participate together and offer support as needed. Not only does exercise then become less isolating, but you also give your friend a set schedule and accountability so he doesn't skip workouts or give up altogether.

Step 5

Celebrate both small and large successes when your friend achieves her goals. Exercising for 30 minutes every day for an entire week deserves congratulations and small rewards, like a new piece of workout gear. Each time your friend experiences a milestone, be positive and congratulatory. If your friend doesn't reach her goals, never nag or berate. Instead, help her set new, more attainable goals that you work on together.

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