Webster County Health Department
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Webster Springs, WV 26288    


Walking for Obese People

by Kathleen Gasior

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If you struggle with obesity, you may feel discouraged about exercise. Carrying extra weight can make even the simplest exercise seem overwhelming. If you want to start a exercise program that can make your cardiovascular system healthier, tone muscles and increase energy, walking is a sensible choice. You can start slowly, work out at your own pace and experience improvement in your health if you walk consistently.       


Check with a Professional


Most exercise programs come with a disclaimer to consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This is especially crucial if you are obese, as you may have health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease that can be affected by exercise. It may be a good idea to find a certified exercise physiologist who can design a program tailored to your specifics needs. A professional can also be a helpful resource if you encounter problems such as pain or injury during your program.

Start Small

Once you've consulted a physician, you're ready to start. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and supportive walking shoes. There is no need to get special athletic clothing, unless it motivates you to get out there and walk. If counting distance seems too daunting, set your initial goals with landmarks. For example: "This week I'll walk to the end of the block and back every other day." Even the smallest increments, performed consistently, add up to better fitness over time.

Set Goals and Rewards

As your confidence and stamina increase, try setting reasonable goals and giving yourself pleasing, non-food rewards such as a new movie, music or a household item you've been wanting. As you see changes in your body, splurge on a new pair of walking shoes or a colorful warm-up jacket. When you hit time or distance milestones, such as walking for a half hour or a full mile, try planning a reward that incorporates your healthier lifestyle, such as taking a day trip to a park, lake or recreation area with a friend. Adding new activities can help you keep positive momentum in your life.

Change It Up

As you add time and distance to your walking program and have more energy, you may find that you lose your initial fears of pain, fatigue or injury. As your fitness daring increases, add small challenges to your program to avoid boredom. Try changing your route's scenery, adding small hills or minor obstacles or adding occasional step-ups on a low bench or wall pushups against a building. Be creative, as long as it feels safe and changes up your workout.






Set aside 30 minutes three times a week to do fun exercises with your kids. Make it a part of your routine. If your kids are young, they might like hopscotch or hide-and-seek. Kick a soccer ball around or shoot hoops with older children. Plan at least one family activity every weekend. It can be as simple as taking little ones to the playground-- or as challenging as an all-day hike with your teenager.

A key to getting your kids moving is to plan time for physical activities. You can find that time by turning off the TV, for starters. Then offer a variety of family activities. Kids can find exercises they enjoy and want to stick with for the long run.





Recipe of the Week: Crispy Chicken Thighs with White Beans

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 skin-on, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 pound)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1 Fresno pepper, thinly sliced
1 (15-ounce) can unsalted cannellini beans, undrained
1/3 cup prepared pesto
How to Make It
1.    Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan, skin side down. Cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high; place another heavy skillet, bottom-side down, directly onto chicken (if your skillet isn't heavy, you can place 1 to 2 canned goods on top to weigh it down). Cook 5 minutes or until skin is crispy. Remove top skillet. Turn chicken over; cook 2 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan.

2.    Return pan to high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add onion and pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until lightly charred. Add beans to pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gently stir in pesto.