If you feel too fat & clumsy to exercise & have NO idea where to start, there are several kinds of exercise where you won’t have to worry about falling or stumbling.

I’m a former personal trainer who was inspired to write this article after reading in a forum about a 230 pound woman who felt too fat and clumsy to exercise.

She started a thread and was asking people to give her advice. It was not a fitness forum; it was a diabetes forum.

The OP made no mention of her diabetes as an impediment to exercise; it was, as she pointed out, her body weight.

I was alarmed at the suggestions that had poured in; many were patronizing, and not one person suggested seated strength training!

Best Exercises if You Feel Too Fat and Clumsy to Exercise

Look, I can’t say it enough: seated strength training. The OP was fearful of falling even from walking.

Can you stay in a chair without falling out? Then seated strength training is perfect!

If you already belong to a gym, commit to seated strength training. (You can also do this at home with a small investment in basic equipment.)

Can you recline on a surface without rolling off? Then get on the leg press and incline barbell press equipment. Can you lie flat without rolling off? Start bench pressing.

Can you stand in one spot without toppling over? Start deadlifting and doing kettlebell swings.

Also do wide-feet squats with just your body weight and work up to holding a kettlebell at shoulder level.

What about cardio exercise?

If you feel too fat and clumsy and that you’ll fall, then sit on a stationary bike and start pedaling.


But this should not be your be-all end-all fate, but rather, only a starting point.

You should work your way up to walking for cardio exercise. But before I explain how to do this without falling, I must point out that the leg strength training mentioned above will actually improve your ability to stay on two moving feet.

Strength training the legs will incite development of new neuro-connections that will translate to better balance and coordination.

What about the treadmill?

The best way to PREVENT an improvement in balance is to hold onto the treadmill! Holding on will train your body to “think” it can’t balance!

To improve balance and overcome a fear of falling, start at 1 mph and walk with your arms at your side.


This will teach your body to function without external support (holding onto the machine).

The problem I see all the time are people setting the speed and incline far beyond what their body can handle, and they hold on to prevent falling off.

Walking slowly without holding on will force new neuro-connections. Do not take an “I must use training wheels” approach.

Obesity is never an excuse for holding onto the treadmill 

One of the thread responders suggested that the woman avoid exercise and instead lose weight first via diet. This is horrible advice.

Another suggestion was water exercise. You can’t fall while standing in water. But what if you don’t have access to a pool? Or what if you’re self-conscious in a swimsuit?

I recommend water workouts as an adjunct to dry-land exercise. You live on dry land; that’s where you need to work on your balance, and that’s where you spend your life; that’s where you need to do your primary exercise.

My last suggestion will have you going “WHAT?!” But I’m serious. If you feel too fat and clumsy to exercise and have a fear of falling or stumbling, sign up for karate.

You will learn to do things on one foot. What better way to conquer a balance problem? Yoga as well will teach you to balance on one leg.

I also recommend walking outdoors as much as possible. This will force your body to learn to better balance.

If you find that you’re actually falling or stumbling in the absence of stepping onto erratic surfaces, maybe it’s time to see a doctor to find out what might be going on besides just being fat.

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.