It’s widely accepted that exercise is essential for fitness, health and weight control, and all guidelines for weight loss include exercise as part of their ‘prescription’. But what do we recommend for those who can’t exercise?
With a start weight of 172.5kg and numerous injuries, Bronnie was one of those who couldn’t exercise in any traditional sense. She was as active as possible, but most would consider that she led a very sedentary lifestyle.
Something as simple as getting out of her lounge chair was an effort. Walking from her lounge-room to the bathroom required a stop to catch her breath. She washed the dishes sitting down as standing for that long took too much effort.
Despite these difficulties, three times each week Bronnie made the effort to walk to the bus stop and go to the local Westfield shopping centre to meet with friends for coffee. She had to stop for a rest on the way to the bus, and once at the shopping centre found a trolley to lean on while she walked. The distance from the bus to the coffee shop required a sit-down along the way.
One of Bronnie’s concerns at the start of her weight loss journey was understandably about exercise. Was she going to have to get fit? Would she be expected to go for regular walks or, far worse, go running?
The reality is that expecting her to do the sort of activity you might see on some TV programs was completely out of the question, and likely dangerous. Instead, safe and realistic goals were required.
Initially, the goal was to get to the bus stop without a rest. Over time, she is becoming more able to walk further without breathlessness, but there have been some ups and downs. Knee pain, partly due to an old injury and partly, perhaps, due to her weight made walking difficult. She pushed through this with a bigger picture in mind.
In the eight weeks since starting her weight loss journey, Bronnie has improved so much that she can now stand for 20 minutes to wash the dishes and then have a shower. Getting up off a chair is far easier as her tummy is becoming noticeably smaller. She stands for longer periods while talking to people. She walked from the bus to the coffee shop without a rest. She even went shopping alone and had to wait for service – after 15 minutes her husband Drew was ready to send out a search party.
To many people, these might sound like insignificant achievements. To those with serious weight issues, it sounds like the start of physical improvements which can lead to easier movement and a level of physical fitness that most take for granted.
Bronnie’s delight and pride in these improvements helps provide the motivation she needs to continue her progress toward her ultimate goals.
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