Who says that plus size women don't exercise?
There is nothing more frustrating for a plus-size woman than someone assuming that she is incapable of climbing a flight of stairs or swimming ten laps just because of her size. Contrary to what most would think, women over size 12 are just as much into getting into shape as the skinner members of society, and CAN do almost as much as anyone else. It's just finding a starting point that we can fit into our lives--but how and when?
The key point is finding the right motivation and the right programs; unlike the programs of yesterday when spas, exercise classes and equipment were geared only to the thin, more and more options are opening up for the full figured, yet fitness-minded lady.
In my teens, I despised the idea of working out; how I managed to get a B in Physical Education during my school years, I cannot fathom. I did try some programs in my 20's and even into my 30's, but they didn't really do much for me. Looking back, it wasn't because I wasn't motivated or ready; the programs just weren't designed for someone like me.
Lucky for us, we now have places like Curves franchises around the country, New York City's In Fitness and in Health, plus size fitness and lifestyle coach Kelly Bliss (www.kellybliss.com
), and even some fitness books and tapes are now available to help the woman of size become fit and healthy.
But what if you don't live in a large city and your town or city has no facilities for plus-sized women? Guess whatyou are still in luck; there are still ways for us to meet our own fitness needs.
If you can afford it, hire a personal trainer. If you can't, you can begin incorporating more movement into your life on your own. Another idea is to contact a physical therapist from your local hospital and ask if they would like to earn a little extra money by helping you set up a suitable exercise routine.
Whether we use a size-friendly gym, personal trainer, exercise videos, or just jogging across town with a good friend, the best part of the exercise experience is a great support system; its always good to receive praise for when we have done well, but we also need a good boost to keep us focused and motivated to make our program of choice a success.
Hone your instincts and listen to your body and spirit; know your limits, what kinds of things you like to do and when you like to do them. Are you a morning or an evening person? Do you like solitary or group activities? Do you like to swim or are you more of a land person?
Once you have an idea what path you would like to take, check with your physician to make sure you are able to exercise safely. We may FEEL all right, but a checkup by the doctor is good insurance before getting started in the event a problem is found.
The best way to get yourself in shape once you are cleared by your doctor is to do whatever you can at whatever pace is comfortable for you. If your body says you can't do it, DON'T! If your body says, "Stop!" then it is time to stop. Pushing yourself otherwise can lead to frustration and even injury.
If it's not fun, if it doesn't feel good, change it. Start out slow, do less than you think you can do, and add onto it in increments. You will be amazed how far you can go eventually once you focus yourself and set aside a time each day just for you, even if it is for only twenty minutes.
But you don't have to feel the burn or sweat to the oldies to get health benefits from movement. Yoga, belly dancing, Pilates, or even a brisk evening walk will help to improve your flexibility and stamina. Also, when we are working towards a goal of better health and physical control of our bodies, we are not as obsessed with such issues as weight loss.
While weight loss can be a wonderful perk of a fitness routine, you'll get all the health benefits of exercise even if you never lose an ounce. You will find yourself wanting to move even more, resulting in being more active and having fun in the process.
There are also other benefits of a good fitness routine at any size; as a result, there will be more positive changes than our bodies getting into better shape:
We sleep better
We reduce stress
We will increase flexibility, strength and endurance
We stabilize our blood sugar
We lower our blood pressure
We prevent osteoporosis
We alleviate depression
We improve our sex lives
Above all, do it for you. If you are doing it to please your mother, to get a promotion, to prove a point or catch a man, chances are good you will not succeed at your routine for very long. On the other hand, if you do it with a goal of getting fit and being healthier, then you can be successful, not to mention feel and look better in the long run! How can you pass up that idea?
With all these options and benefits open to us as well as our skinny sisters, why NOT go on, be your new, positive self? Be the best that you can be-in a size 6, 16, or a 26!