Exercise And Obesity in Seniors and The Elderly

In America today concerning exercise and obesity, about half of the population is overweight and about a quarter of the population is obese.
Obesity is associated with many conditions that are harmful including;

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Some types of cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Joint problems

Primarily obesity is a result of an imbalance between our energy intake and our energy output. We generally take in too many calories, and burn too few.

For some people, this is the simple and only answer to their dilemma.  All they need to do is adjust how much they are taking in, to the amount of activity they perform during the day.

For most people though, in addition to just calorie counting, losing or maintaining a good weight involves other factors including genetics, physiology, culture, and psychological disposition.

Some use dieting alone as a means of weight reduction. Unfortunately the success rate for using diet alone is not very good. This means that in the long term, weight that was lost through dietary restrictions is often regained plus some.

Why you also need to exercise in addition to dieting

Along with a sensible diet, strength training and endurance training of moderate intensity can result in burning a significant number of calories over time.

Strength is an excellent way to increase your lean muscle mass while helping to decrease fat mass.

A successful program for exercise and obesity, including strength and endurance training, should be designed around a low-intensity workout which would have a low risk for orthopedic injury.

Walking and other low-impact activities are a great start. These can include swimming, rowing and bicycle riding which have a low risk of musculoskeletal injury.

If you are healthy but overweight, you can safely begin and gradually build up to the general intensity and frequency of a senior program.

You will know when you are ready for a more intense program when you are able to walk 4 miles at a brisk pace and pass the talk test, ie., you are not out of breath.

Other considerations for the overweight exerciser

If you are on anti-hypertensive medication, take care to avoid adverse responses like orthostatic hypotension which may cause fainting.


If you are a diabetic, take special care to avoid hypoglycemic responses from anti-diabetic medication. Talk to your doctor about these before exercising.

Avoid exercises that tend to chaff your inner thighs and wear the best shoes you can afford to limit the possibility of injury.

Don’t hold your breath. Exhale during the effort part of an exercise. Don’t do too many sit-ups as the weight of the chest may impede your breathing. An alternative position to the sit-up for the overweight exerciser, is to stand with both hands against the wall and round the back while contracting the abdomen.

Consistent and quality effort toward elderly exercise and obesity will result in greater health and vitality.