Physical Activity Programming for Clients with Obesity: Considerations for Exercise Professionals
By Anastasia Dikareva and Ross E. Andersen, Ph.D., FACSM
Condensed Version & Bottom Line:
The permanent adoption of an active lifestyle remains a critical but unmet health behaviour among most North American adults and increasingly more so among adults living with Class II and III obesity. The aim of this feature is to elucidate some of the common physical, psychosocial, and environmental barriers that individuals living with obesity may face when engaging in PA and to offer practical strategies for exercise professionals that would help address these challenges in PA programming. In developing appropriate PA programming for clients with obesity, specialists must consider a compassionate approach that accommodates the effects of excess weight, unrealistic weight loss expectations, and generic exercise environments by focusing on weight-neutral outcomes and creating a safe exercise environment. Given that client needs and priorities may change as they become increasingly more comfortable with PA and new concerns emerge, it is of utmost importance that open, ongoing communication remains at the forefront of all stages of development and delivery. Tailoring programs that address clients’ needs and cultivate positive experiences with PA will help promote the adoption and maintenance of a physically active lifestyle, thereby improving long-term health outcomes among North Americans living with obesity.
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- Exercise professionals will begin to understand and appreciate some of the physical, psychosocial, and environmental challenges that individuals living with obesity may face when engaging in physical activity.
- Exercise professionals will consider suggested training modifications to help navigate these challenges when working with clients who are living with obesity.
Key words: Physical Activity, Programming, Obesity, Health Promotion
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