Bed Exercises for Weight-Loss in the Obese

by Elle Di Jensen

Because weight limits their level of mobility and flexibility, people who are significantly overweight can't perform movements in the same way others can. Such limitations can be discouraging, but exercise is what will get pounds off. You might not think that doing exercises in bed can make a significant difference in your fitness and your health, but they actually do provide results that will break the cycle and finally get you more active.

1. Cardio is Essential

Cardiovascular exercise is the element of your bed exercises most effective for burning fat, because it is the activity that burns the most calories, according to "Clinical Exercise Physiology, 3rd Edition" published in 2013. From a seated position in bed, repeat movements continuously and at a quick pace to get your heart rate up. Things like extending your arms out to the sides and rotating them in circles or punching the air are cardiovascular exercises you can perform in bed. The length of time you can maintain the action will increase as your body starts to get fit. Add some hand weights to increase the intensity when you notice that the exercises are getting easier for you to perform.

2. Resistance Increases Results

Although aerobic workouts are the most effective for weight loss, resistance exercises will increase the positive effects of your weight-loss efforts. After you've been doing cardio exercises for about four weeks, start doing some resistance exercises by going through the motions without resistance, then use dumbbells or hand weights to perform exercises from the bed. These include chest presses, triceps extensions, bicep curls and shoulder presses. You can also use resistance bands by wrapping them under your bed or attaching them to a doorknob or your headboard to do arm and leg extensions as well as shoulder rotations and lat pull-downs.

3. Frequency

The more you exercise, the faster and better your results will be. However, you should take it slow at first and do only what you can handle. Sixty consecutive minutes of working out every day might be impossible at the beginning, so start with three or four short bed exercise sessions that last for 10 to 15 minutes. You'll be able to build up from there. You should perform cardio exercises every day and do the resistance exercises two to three days a week.

4. Flexibility

Excess weight makes it difficult to move freely, decreasing your flexibility and range of motion in the joints. Yet, stretching is still an essential part of working out and may even be more-so for someone who is extremely overweight. That's because the increased weight brings with it increased risk of joint and lower back pain. Because you can do many stretches while sitting or lying, they are ideal for doing in bed to increase flexibility and reduce pain. Some examples include knee-to-chest stretches, shoulder stretches and upper and lower back stretches. Use a towel or a cord to facilitate an assisted shoulder stretch or a hamstring stretch.

5. Doctor's Approval

Always check with your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen, especially if you are extremely overweight. He will likely support your decision to lose weight and become fit, but he will also be aware of health concerns and limitations you should take into consideration. Your doctor is the best person to counsel you through an endeavor such as significant weight loss.

About the Author

Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.