ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal

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ACSM'S Health & Fitness Journal:

Balance and Strength Training for Obese Individuals

Clark, Kristine N. M.S., RCEP

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Learning Objective: To provide an awareness of the importance of including balance training as part of an overall exercise program for obese individuals.

Sally is a 68-year-old retired saleswoman who has gradually gained weight over the past 30 years to her lifetime maximum of 292 lbs. She struggles with balance and relies on a walker or cane to get around. Sally is part of a growing obese population that accounts for almost a third (31) of Americans (1). Very little research has been conducted on the stability and balance of obese individuals; therefore the focus of this article is to create an awareness of how to train these individuals. Generally, a fitness program includes aerobics, strength, and flexibility. These activities are prescribed to help individuals improve fitness as well as maintain a healthy weight, prevent unhealthy fat accumulation, and reduce excess body weight when present. Although not considered a main component of physical fitness, balance training is important for improving stability and should be a part of a training program for anyone – especially those who are obese.

© 2004 American College of Sports Medicine


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