There are plenty of exercises for morbidly obese people to do.

Nevertheless, a morbidly obese individual might be wondering what the best exercises are for his or her size.

There are certain exercises that morbidly obese people can perform with as much efficiency as thinner people. Obviously, I don’t mean jump rope, running or hiking steep trails.

Nor do I mean jumping, hopping or stepping drills. The best exercise that morbidly obese people can do is strength training.

Contrary to common belief, morbidly obese people aren’t as limited, when it comes to exercise choices, as they (as well as thinner folks) think they are.

A morbidly obese man or woman can sit on a seat and push out some weight as efficiently as a 150-pound person.

So, if you’re a morbidly obese man or woman wondering what the best exercise options are for you, mark this down: seated strength training routines.


This means using resistance machines (weight stacks and pulley systems), as well as sitting on a bench and handling dumbbells. Do not assume that you can’t fit into the machine’s seat.

The manufacturers design these exercise machines to fit all sizes (they want to make a profit, right?). A 300-pound person can fit in most exercise machines.

However, if your morbid obesity prevents you from fitting or comfortably sitting in an exercise machine, don’t despair; simply try another machine.

Strength training machines have varying designs, are made by different manufacturers and come in different makes and models. If one machine doesn’t fit you, then try another.

And don’t forget about sitting on open benches and working with dumbbells.

Another option of exercise for the morbidly obese is to stand while exercising.


You stand in everyday life, so you’ll be able to stand while exercising with dumbbells, tension tubing or even a small barbell.

Next on the list for best exercises for morbidly obese individuals is walking. You’re already doing that. Just do it for longer periods nonstop at a pace outside your comfort zone.

You’ll get tired. But isn’t that the whole point of exercise, to work hard enough to feel fatigue?

Watch thinner people doing aerobics. Usually they appear to be breathing heavily.

That’s the objective of aerobic exercise. If walking longer than a few minutes makes you breathe heavily, then you’re on the right track.

If you use a treadmill, swing your arms; do not hold on.

Holding on makes the exercise too easy to force the body to adapt and hence, burn fat to fuel the adaptation. Swing your arms naturally as you would outdoors! As you get fitter you can increase the speed and/or incline to burn more calories — but do not hold on unless you’re changing the settings or making some other adjustment. Shutterstock/LightField Studios

If you prefer outdoor walking but are self-conscious, then find a partner or walk at a school track during non-school hours; you’ll probably see other friendly walkers.

Being morbidly obese means you still have plenty of exercise options.

And don’t forget that old favorite: the stationary bike, as well as low-impact aerobics classes.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/New Africa