Information about the role of exercise in weight loss is readily available, but few sources address what this means for those who are obese. If you get out of breath walking from the car to the front door, even the smallest amount of exercise can be overwhelming.
Where do I start?
You simply start at the beginning. Everyone has a different beginning and your only task is to identify yours. Start moving little by little, pushing a bit more each day. It's easy to fear the unknown and imagine the task of exercise as complicated and difficult, but there is no secret to exercise. Our bodies are designed to move. Involve your doctor in this process. He or she will know your health history and can tell you what may or may not be good for you at this stage in the process.
What do I do?
If you often sit for hours at a time, start by standing for 5 minutes every hour. Walk down the hallway and back. Once your body gets used to this amount of walking, increase the distance. You might also try 5-10 overhead arm-raises every hour. Any activity above what you're currently doing is an improvement and a step in the right direction.
How do I progress?
The key is to progress slowly by adding a bit more activity as you build up your fitness level. For example, when you feel stronger, add small hand weights (soup cans do the trick) while you do your overhead arm-raises. As your endurance increases, begin incorporating two 10-to-15 minute walks a day around the block. By gradually increasing your activity level, you can avoid injury while improving your health and losing weight.
What if I get discouraged?
Don't let the exercise fanatics of the world intimidate you! You are a beginner. Everyone starts somewhere and by starting at your personal beginning and staying with it, you will be more fit tomorrow than you are today. Don't let your long term goals overwhelm you. Take one day at time, and if that's too much, take one hour at time. You'll be amazed at how quickly your body will respond to the training and how much healthier you will feel in a short time.