Overweight and Workout

Written by: Katarina Juhart, professor of physical education

In previous articles you could read about body processes during different activities and which are activities with the most efficient fat burnout. We will summarize only one thing, which should serve you as guidance for your workout - the most efficient workout to lose weight is an intensity of 60-70% of maximum heart rate.

This is the golden rule for all who want to lose a pound or two of fat.

But what happens when you want to start exercising but you are overweight, have low motivation and fear injuries?

First, we recommend you to lose the fear, because a gradual and safe workout with proper motivation can make you fall in love with the workout, which will become a part of your life. Let us emphasize that this is not only a problem of overweight people but everyone who want to do something for themselves, their body and health. We doubt our abilities, don't know where to start and on who to turn to for help. 

When to Actually Start Working Out?

Something probably needs to happen to us to move us from that place when we repeatedly say to ourselves and others: "I will start on Monday." Great, but which Monday?

Health is often the one that gets us to start working out, whether elevated blood pressure, diabetes or raised cholesterol. And sometimes the reason is that we don't feel good in our body.

If you have any health problems, we recommend you to consult your physician and we have also prepared a medical questionnaire for you to assess your current health condition and if you are ready to workout.  


There is always a lot of them and the most frequent one is definitely ‘time'. It is often a very good reason but if we really think about it without any embellishment – we are the ones setting our life priorities and if we do not do something for ourselves and our health, who will?

Advice for you: Instead of meeting your friends for coffee, go for a walk. Isn't it better to combine pleasant with useful? Maybe a walk will soon became a group aerobics workout and then you will be able to set yourself new goals.   

Suitable Activity for Me

If you are overweight, you have to realize the strain your joints and body are under. Choosing the activity is therefore crucial. When choosing, it is also important we like the activity, even though it often happens that we start liking the activity once we get familiar with it and have no pain or other problems during it.

Swimming is an overall sport, which activates the whole body. It is a sports activity with minimum side effects, because there are practically no injuries due to relatively slow movements in comparison to dry activities and that is why this activity is appropriate for all age groups, especially for overweight people. Swimming strengthens the cardiovascular (overcoming water resistance) and respiratory system, has a beneficial effect on the skeletal and muscular system (beneficial for the spine, specific swimming movements maintain flexibility of shoulder, hip, knee and hock joints). Because swimming moves are executed slowly and controlled, there are no muscle tissue, bonds or joints injuries.    

Walking is a suitable beginning for all overweight people but you always have to have a workout goal as mentioned at the beginning. Final goal is a workout at an intensity of 60-70% of maximum heart rate. We recommend starting with 20 to 30 minutes of walking 3-4 times a week for someone who doesn't have problems with walking. Later you can increase the strain by prolonging activity time (from 30 to 50 minutes) and changing walking tempo to brisk walking. Nordic walking is a form of an activity where you also activate the upper part of the body, which is neglected when walking normally.

Bicycling is a suitable activity for everyone who has problems with knee pain, which prevents them from walking or running. We recommend you to choose flat routes at the beginning and later occasionally go to a small hill to strengthen your legs and heart. But of course gradualness is very important and that is why we suggest you to use the HR belt and the @life app to monitor your distance, elevation changes, burned calories … The app is available for AndroidiPhone and Blackberry platforms. Some fitness centers also have bicycles with a supported back, which is suitable for people with spine pain.

Elliptic trainers are machines, which simulate natural movement such as running (an example is a well-known Orbitrek machine) and allow high-intensity aerobic workout without heel striking against the surface and transfering those forces to knees, hip and back. Machines are available in fitness centers and some people also have it at home.    

Strength Workout

Many of you already started to imagine bodybuilders and men with a lot of muscle mass. But this workout is a preventive strength workout to protect your over-strained joints. Don't forget that a higher muscle mass contributes to a higher calorie burnout in everyday activities.

We prepared a collection of exercises for strengthening your whole body, which you can perform at home with your own weight. Strength workout should be carried out 2-3 times a week where gradualness is very important. We recommend you to strengthen the whole body and not only your critical areas (abdomen, buttocks …).

An Advice for the End

When you start working out or if you are already active, we recommend you to not compare yourself with others and focus only on yourself. This approach will bring you a lot of good, because you will observe your progress during the workout and how the activities that were once very hard became very easy, making you set new goals. Motivation is the most important when working out, because there is no workout without it.

And as far as loosing pounds is concerned, don't be impatient. Slow and steady wins the race!