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What can someone who is very overweight, with painful joints do, to exercise more?

(70 Posts)
SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Sun 11-Jan-15 13:12:18

I weigh somewhere in the region of 20 stone. I am trying to make healthier decisions around food, and hopefully I will gradually lose some of the weight.

But at the moment it feels as if exercise is well-nigh impossible for me. My knees are often painful, and I get bad back ache if I walk any distance.

I did join a local gym, and was going 2-3 times a week, spending 1 - 1.5 hours doing 3 10 minute sessions on the treadmill, just walking, then three sessions on the resistance machines, and I did start to lose a little weight - but after each session, my knees were so sore and swollen I could barely walk, and eventually just walking up from the car park became too much for me, and I stopped going.

We could, afford gym membership, but not if I never go.

Can anyone suggest some gentle exercise programmes I could do at home - I feel I am far more likely to stick to something like that, and then, when I have lost some weight and got some of the stress off my joints, I could rejoin the gym and make better use of it.

Thanks in advance.

gamerchick Sun 11-Jan-15 13:13:54

Swimming is the only one I can think of that is kind to joints.

CaulkheadUpNorth Sun 11-Jan-15 13:15:39

My brother is about 25 stone. He was given some exercise sheets from his gp or the dietician, which you might be able to get hold of.

I remember he was told that whenever he was sitting down he was to raise his arms and legs as much possible. He had to lift things like tins of soup too.

Another thing he had to do was go for a ten minute walk ever hour.

I can't remember what else though, but that might help.

confusedandemployed Sun 11-Jan-15 13:15:59

Was just about to post the same: swimming, and aqua aerobics would be my suggestions. Hope you have success!

BIWI Sun 11-Jan-15 13:16:37

I agree - swimming sounds like it's the best thing for you. It will take the weight/pressure off your joints.

Even you're no longer a gym member, why not go in and ask one of the fitness team their advice? You won't be committed to any sessions with them, and they will be very keen to recommend a programme that will help rather than hurt you. After all, they will want to try to get you to re-join!

It's also worth bearing in mind that exercise only accounts for around 20% of weight loss, and that diet is the remaining 80%, so don't stress if you can't get an exercise plan going immediately.

CMOTDibbler Sun 11-Jan-15 13:18:17

My dh is very overweight, and needs both knees and a hip replacing, but has found that he can cycle without too much extra pain (and not causing more swelling), and can now cycle long distances at a good pace

BeCool Sun 11-Jan-15 13:19:09

I've ordered an AeroPilates machine - waiting for it to be delivered. The main selling point for me was I could do horizontal cardo which will take the strain on knee & ankle (old injuries made work by being very overweight). Tests show it is as effective as a treadmill!! I got it from QVC so will give it a go for 30 days and if it is rubbish I can return.

I am also SP and work FT so pretty housebound in the evenings - can't get to gym or swim regularly enough.

Aqua aerobics is also good.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Sun 11-Jan-15 13:20:02

I didn't know that, about the 80/20 split, BIWI - that is very useful to know - it means I could achieve a lot by diet alone.

Thank you all for the advice - I will look into the things you've suggested.

ThePriceOfMagic Sun 11-Jan-15 13:21:46

Swimming would be good as other posters have said.

You could also try a chair workout DVD. I think one of Rosemary Conley's workouts includes one. This One Though I'm sure there are others if you Google!

Good luck!

juliascurr Sun 11-Jan-15 13:21:48

might help

BeCool Sun 11-Jan-15 13:25:06

another attraction of the AeroPilates for me is I feel in the last few years, as I have got older/fatter & esp after birth of DC2, is I have lost alot of my core strength - perhaps that is why your back hurts when walking? THe pilates exercises will really help me with that, so I should get stronger and fitter - that is the idea anyway.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Sun 11-Jan-15 13:26:51

Thank you all again - I will look at that, BeCool.

AngusAndElspethsThistleWhistle Sun 11-Jan-15 13:27:23

Rosemary Conley's Ultimate Whole Body workout dvd has a section for a chair workout that doesn't strain your joints. It's a starting point to build your strength.

The toning section is good too and you could just do the bits you can.

I was 19 stone when I started it.

AngusAndElspethsThistleWhistle Sun 11-Jan-15 13:28:01

Cross post with Price smile

BeCool Sun 11-Jan-15 13:28:01

I will report back after it's delivered! Was meant to be last week but it seems to have gone AWOL

TheAwfulDaughter Sun 11-Jan-15 13:31:28

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Sun 11-Jan-15 13:54:53

Thank-you Angus and TheAwfulDaughter (not awful at all, IMO smile)!

CadiM Sun 11-Jan-15 13:57:15

I started exercising at home by doing Leslie Sansone "Walk at Home" DVD's (there's quite a few on youtube). Very simple and low impact but should get your heart rate up.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Sun 11-Jan-15 14:06:02


ToBeeOrNot Sun 11-Jan-15 14:13:30

Cycling is very low impact, did you ever try stationary bikes at the gym?

BitOutOfPractice Sun 11-Jan-15 14:14:18

I was going to suggest swimming too but also agree that diet is the most important element. I lose weight when I diet alone. It's just bit quicker when I exercise!

Good luck to you! thanks

EBearhug Sun 11-Jan-15 14:14:31


Also doing some walking, even if it's down to the end of the road and back - if you're doing it every day, it will start adding up. You can also do things like marching on the spot when you're in the kitchen doing things.

It's also worth talking to a yoga teacher - the class I go to has some very overweight people with joint problems, and the teacher will adjust postures for them, so some can be done seated rather than standing, things like that.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Sun 11-Jan-15 14:33:12

I did try the stationary bikes, and they made my knees swell up painfully.

Dsis gave me a FitBit for my birthday, and I do plan to,use that to increase my daily level,of activity.

One thing that is going to be a hindrance and a help is that one of the dogs needs bilateral knee surgery - each operation will mean a period of cage rest, which will make me rather housebound, as she will need supervision and company, but as she recovers, she will need several small walks during the day, and with dh at work, that will fall to me. It is entirely possible that I will be able to make myself do something for the dog that I can't do for myself.

wonkylegs Sun 11-Jan-15 14:39:15

I have joint problems due to RA.
I can do swimming, aqua aerobics (I go to an arthritis group) and cycling on an exercise bike (as it's not weight bearing and doesn't cause me issues with hips & knees)

Selks Sun 11-Jan-15 14:42:58

Try using an elliptical trainer / cross trainer, OP. They are low impact for joints especially knees.

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