4 Best Exercises for Obese Women for Weight Loss

by Millie

Last Updated on January 4, 2021 by Millie

Like you, I know that exercise is important at any weight, but when you are over 300 pounds deciding what exercises you are physically able to do is not as easy as it seems. So many of us have physical limitations that make us less physically active. In my case, I started my weight loss journey with chronic back pain from three bulging disks. But have no fear, these are the best exercises for obese women for weight loss.

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There is no way that I can run, spin, do yoga, Crossfit, TRX, and so many more workouts. Heck even getting up from the couch is difficult. And I am out of breath going up one flight of stairs. But I knew I needed to exercise. I have to lose fat and improve my cardiovascular system.

The thought of workout in a gym is anxiety-provoking for me and other obese people. The people who need the gym the most are sadly the people who feel most uncomfortable and unwelcomed in a gym. Even before your workout, you have to change in front of others. However, some gyms do offer change rooms with private cubicles. They are sometimes called family change rooms or community change rooms.

If you have this option and you choose your exercise or workout wisely, you might be fine going to the gym. Also, if you have some flexibility with your schedule, weekdays during the day are less busy at most gym

In addition to the change room issue, exercising in public for obese people can be difficult. Who wants to be the slowest, fattest person in the room? Not me! So going to a gym is out, for now.

With my weight, physical limitations and back pain, I can only do low impact workouts. These types of workouts are easier on your joints and research has shown that they can be just as effective as high impact exercises. 

The best low impact exercises for obese women, like me, for weight loss are cycling, walking and swimming. 

woman on recumbent bicycle, an excellent exercise choice for obese women
Cycling is one of the best exercises for obese women


Cycling is one of the best exercises for obese women for weight loss. I started using a stationary recumbent bike at home. According to Wikipedia, this type of bike “places the rider in a laid-back reclining position. Most recumbent riders choose this type of design for ergonomic reasons; the rider’s weight is distributed comfortably over a larger area, supported by back and buttocks.” If you suffer from back pain, like me, this is a perfect choice.

My bike was set up perfectly in my bedroom with a great view of the TV. Being able to watch TV made it super easy to exercise.  

In the first few weeks, I just did 20 minutes five to seven days per week. Then I added 5 minutes every two weeks. I can now ride for 60-65 minutes! Any longer and my butt is numb and hurts.

You can find recumbent bikes in some gym or, of course, you can purchase one. If you want to buy one, pay attention to the bike’s weight limit. Note that some of the salespeople are not always aware of the weight limits. After all, most of their customers are not super obese.

person walking on treadmill, a very good exercise choice for overweight women
Walking is great for weight loss


Another exercise for obese women for weight loss is walking After riding for three months, I was able to include walks in my weekly plan. I started at 30 minutes and now can walk for 60 – 75 minutes on most days of the week. I have a Fitbit and now I try to get at least 10,000 steps a day. Counting your steps is a simple way to get you more active. Start small and increase your steps every week or when you can.

Of course, you can walk in your neighborhood, parks, and malls. I hate Toronto’s cold winter so I walk a lot indoors at home. I march r walk in front of the TV while watching the news. We do have a treadmill, but I rarely use it. 

There are great exercise videos on YouTube that you may enjoy. I really like Leslie Sansone, Walk Away the Pounds. It’s a simple, walking aerobics workout. There are many distances and lengths from one mile or 15 minutes.  

Also read 30 Day Step Challenge for Overweight Beginners

Also read Is 10,000 Steps a day Good for Weight Loss

There are plenty of treadmills at gyms so there is one waiting for you. You can also purchase your own if you are more comfortable working out at home. Just remember to check the weight limits.

three smiling women in a pool holding pool noodles, swimming is a good option for overweight women
Swimming is a great exercise for overweight women


Many experts recommend swimming for obese women for weight loss. I didn’t try swimming, instead, I signed up for a water aerobics/aqua fitness class at a local gym (with family change rooms) a few months after riding and walking. And I love it! The buoyancy of the water makes it a lot easier to move. I can do jumping jacks! 

Eventually, after losing about 20 pounds and feeling fitter, I became more comfortable exercising in public. But I actually feel invisible when I am in the water. And I survived buying a bathing suit … online.

My husband and I did water aerobics twice a week. But thanks to COVID-19, gyms are closed but we hope to resume when they reopen.

a lot of colorful dumbbells, strength training is important for obese women
Add strength training to gain muscle and lose weight

Strength Training

Finally, if you can, include strength training for building muscles and weight loss. I recently added some strength training once or twice a week. And again I do it at home. I do bodyweight exercise and I use 3, 5 or 10-pound dumbbells with some exercises. But you can use water bottles, soup cans or any other object you have at home.

I found a full-body strength workout for all sizes from SparkPeople that I really enjoy doing.

Best Exercises for Obese Women for Weight Loss

So this is it. This is what I have done to lose 75 pounds and continuing to do to lose the next 75. These are my personal recommendations of the best exercises for obese women for weight loss. As you may have noticed, I started small … only 20 minutes a day. 

Baby steps are best. You want to listen to your body and do as much as you can. The first step is the hardest, but honestly, if I can do if so can you!

Check out the top 5 foods for weight loss.


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Mimi June 2, 2020 - 4:35 pm

These are awesome, I’m trying to lose weight and I love walking, at night I take my dog out for 40 minutes, it’s better than therapy for me

Millie June 2, 2020 - 9:06 pm

Hello Mimi, Thanks for your kind words. It sounds like you have the best walking buddy! Keep walking and the weight will come off.

Kimberly Croisant June 3, 2020 - 12:35 pm

I hear swimming is the best exercise for us. It moves every bone and muscle in your body.

Millie June 3, 2020 - 1:41 pm

Hi Kimberly, Yes, swimming is amazing. The buoyancy of the water makes it easier to move and therefore you can do more in the water than on land.

Jess June 3, 2020 - 1:30 pm

I have been doing water aerobics with my mom who is overweight and it has been amazing for her. I never realized how many benefits there were for it.

Millie June 3, 2020 - 1:43 pm

Hi Jess, What a good daughter you are! You are supporting your mom in such an important way. I hope you are also enjoying water aerobics.

Renee | The Good Hearted Woman June 3, 2020 - 2:53 pm

Swimming has always been my first choice for exercise, but I recently bought a little under-desk cycle and get in about 20 miles a day while I work, and I’m really enjoying that right now.

Millie June 3, 2020 - 5:49 pm

Hi Renee, I still sit too much and I try to remember to get up and stretch every hour, but I have seen the commercials for those under-desk cycle and I am thinking of getting one. Maybe one I will. Thanks.

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Roamy July 20, 2020 - 9:00 am

Im trying to lose some weight, im not obese,just some pounds here and there(mostly around my belly area)this is exactly what I need so thanks so much for sharing.

Millie July 20, 2020 - 1:24 pm

Hi Roamy, I so glad that I was able to help. You can do it! Good luck!

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