Exercising Dangers for Obese People

Obese people sometimes want to exercise in order to lose weight and improve their health, and there are certainly many benefits of exercise for overweight people. Exercise poses some risks for obese people, though, and you should be aware of the possible dangers and take steps to protect yourself from them while exercising. Make sure to talk with your doctor before beginning an exercise program, especially if you have any medical problems, to find out what type and amount of exercise is safe for you.

An overweight woman is reaching for a bike. (Image: altrendo images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Cardiac Problems

Obese people often have cardiac issues, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, as explained by the website of the NYU Langone Medical Center. Doctors often recommend that people with heart problems exercise, because exercise promotes weight loss, helps lower blood pressure, improves blood flow and helps strengthen the heart muscle. Vigorous exercise usually triggers a temporary spike in blood pressure, though, which can be dangerous for obese people with cardiac problems. Follow your doctor’s advice about how much and how vigorously to exercise and stop immediately if you have chest pain.

Respiratory Problems

Obese people often feel short of breath after even small amounts of physical exertion. The NYU Langone Medical Center website explains that this is because the chest wall is heavier than normal in obese people, making it difficult for the lungs to fully expand. Stop exercising if you begin to have difficulty breathing and talk to your doctor before resuming your exercise program.

Injury to the Joints

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, jogging puts significant stress on the joints, including the knees. Thus, health care providers often recommend obese people to avoid such high-impact exercises. Carrying extra weight already puts a significant amount of stress on the joints even without engaging in high-impact activities. Low-impact exercises like water aerobics or swimming, however, are easier on the joints and may be safer as well as more comfortable for obese people.

Heat Exhaustion

As the website of the American College of Sports Medicine explains, obese people have more difficulty regulating their body temperature than non-obese people, which makes them more susceptible to heat exhaustion. To prevent heat exhaustion, don’t exercise outdoors when the weather is very hot, wear light clothing when working out and make sure you drink plenty of water even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Dehydration

Since obese people have more trouble regulating their body temperature, and since they may sweat more than non-obese people, they are more susceptible to dehydration when exercising vigorously, especially in hot weather. To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.

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