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Is running a good exercise for obese people or are there risks?

Sport Medicine Health & Fitness
DOCTOR’S ANSWER (1)

Hi 


Thank you for your question and its certainly something that Sports physicians get asked about quite often - what exercises are advised for someone who is overweight or obese?

Running is an excellent form of exercise, which uses most of the major muscle groups in the body and which can help with improved cardiovascular fitness and weight loss.  Indeed, any exercise is better than nothing and while running is a cheap and easy thing to do, it might not be recommended in the first instance if you are unaccustomed to exercise.  To begin, simply walking on a regular basis is a good start - while it might not be perceived as "good exercise" as running, it is recommended by the World Health Organisation as the minimum level of physical activity for health.  If walking does not appeal, it might be worth starting with non-weight bearing or low impact exercise such as cycling, swimming or gym exercises such as the elliptical trainer.  These open the opportunity to exercise without causing excessive strain on the lower limb.

You see, often, patients who start exercising, can experience knee or lower limb pain, particularly if they are unaccustomed to it.  There is also the possibility of other conditions such as heart disease. 

As a consequence, if you have not exercised for a while or are new to it, it might be worth considering a pre-participation screening (https://www.doctorxdentist.com/questions/can-pre-exercise-screening-help-prevent-heart-attacks-while-exercising).  During this, you will be assessed for your general health, any MSK conditions and you can discuss your fitness/health goals.  You can also decide what program suits you and how to monitor your progress.  This is definitely something to consider if you have heart disease or risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol or diabetes.

If you are keen to start, please check with a Sports Physician or GP before doing so! 

Hope this helps 
BW
Dr Dinesh

142 views 20 Feb 2019
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