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Fitness and Nutrition

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Active at any size

three older women participating in a water aerobics class

Being active at any size

Very large people can face special challenges in trying to be physically active. You may not be able to bend or move in the same way that other people can. It may be hard to find clothes and equipment for exercising. You may feel self-conscious being active around other people. Facing these challenges is hard, but it can be done!

Activities such as swimming or exercising while seated put less stress on your joints because your legs are not supporting the weight of your body. If your feet or joints hurt when you stand, these non-weight-bearing activities may be best for you. Ask your doctor for help in coming up with a physical activity plan that's right for you.

Remember that physical activity does not have to be hard or boring to be good for you. Anything that gets you moving around — even for only a few minutes a day — is a healthy start to getting more fit. If you commit to being physically active on a regular basis, your body will thank you because it can make a big difference to your health.

Even if you are not physically active enough to lose weight, you will still lower your risk of getting many diseases by being active. And if you do lose weight, you'll get even more health benefits!

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Losing weight and keeping it off

If you want to lose a substantial (more than 5 percent of body weight) amount of weight, you need a high amount of physical activity unless you also lower calorie intake. This is also the case if you are trying to keep the weight off. Many people need to do more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to meet weight-control goals.

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Content last updated: June 17, 2008.

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