Exercise and Obesity: Where do we begin?

With over half Australian adults and a quarter of Australian children reported as being overweight or living with obesity, the importance of understanding how to exercise appropriately is becoming more and more relevant.

It is well documented that exercise is vital for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM), osteoarthritis (OA) and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).

We’ve all been told we need to eat well and exercise to live healthier, longer lives but where do we start? Commencing an exercise program for the first time can be very daunting and overwhelming. What exercise is best for me? How much exercise do I need to do to get health benefits? What exercise is safe? How do I avoid injuries? These are just some of the many questions that may pop to mind when we are told we need to commence an exercise program.

Here are 5 simple tips to consider if you are overweight or obese and starting to exercise:


Start slow

Low impact aerobic exercise is recommended when commencing exercise, gentle walking on flat ground is the best place to start!

Progressively increase

Start by increasing the time and then distance. Slowly building up exercise as tolerated will reduce the risk of injuries.

Add some resistance training

Research shows resistance training 2-3 times per week combined with aerobic exercise is optimal for weight management. Again, start slow with some body weight exercises for example Sit to Stands, wall push-ups and calf raises. Build up to resisted exercises. If you have not participated in resistance exercise before it is recommended you seek advice from an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) for an appropriate resistance training program and assistance with technique.

Reach the Physical Activity Guideline Recommendations

It is recommended that Australian Adults partake in some form of physical activity most days of the week and reduce time spend being sedentary. Aim for 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week (Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviours Guidelines).

Discover the joy of movement

Exercise should become a part of your daily routine and you should be able to find fulfillment and enjoyment in exercise. Pick the activities you enjoy, make exercise fun and social.

If you are considering implementing physical activity into your life or starting a new program, you should consult the advice of an exercise expert such as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, especially if you are overweight or obese to ensure that you are exercising safely.