Ask an Exercise Physiologist: Meeting new people through sport and exercising with morbid obesity | HerCanberra

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Ask an Exercise Physiologist: Meeting new people through sport and exercising with morbid obesity

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Wonderful questions this week about managing obesity and chronic disease, and morning exercise options for “single chicks”.

I’ll get to the other questions on osteoporosis, perimenopause, a safe beginner running program, yoga scheduling and arthritis lifestyle prevention strategies over the next month.

Unfamiliar with this column? Ask an EP is here to help with all your health and wellness questions and challenges—lifestyle, wellness, pain and health.

Do you have a burning health and wellness question?

Now is your chance to ask. Every fortnight we will pick a couple of questions, and help you solve your burning query.  If we share our problems, we are more likely to solve them.

I have my wonderful work colleague, Kayla answering a question this week. Let’s get started:

How can I find a trainer who can deal with bariatric clients? I am morbidly obese but don’t qualify for [bariatric surgery] or can’t get into the clinic. 

The average trainer seems to be repulsed by the obese and doesn’t appear to understand there are special physical and psychological needs.

– Anonymous, 50

I am sorry to hear you have had such trouble finding a suitable trainer with whom you can commence a holistic exercise program.

I can understand that weight in itself provides lots of challenges—both physiological and psychological—that may need a multi-disciplinary team to assist. There are many factors to take into consideration and obesity doesn’t have to mean poor health.

When you say you don’t qualify for the clinic, does this mean you have tried the Obesity Management Service (if you are Canberra based)?

“The Obesity Management Service supports adults with a high level of obesity to improve their health and wellbeing. Their team includes doctors, nurses, dietitians, psychologists, occupational therapists and exercise physiologists.” Here is some information in case you haven’t already seen it.

Other recommendations:

  • Have you tried a mobile-based Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist that could come to you and take you through a series of exercises in your home? That way you know you are exercising safely without having to go to a clinic; or even a telehealth-based service where you could have assistance over a video call. One up-side to COVID-19 is that lots of allied health professionals have taken up telehealth.
  • Have you tried hydrotherapy or water-based exercises with a qualified health professional who is trained in these kinds of conditions? We run Deep Water Running and Hydrolates (Aquatic Pilates) classes in Deakin and Majura Park. This form of exercise is very gentle on the joints and allows you to move more freely. Establishing a seated or laying down-home exercise program that you can undertake on your own each day, would also be of benefit.

Thank you for reaching out and not giving up hope. Setting small realistic movement goals can be helpful in staying motivated, starting with gentle, slow movements to assist in joint mobility and building muscle strength.

Have a think about the sorts of things you’d like to be able to do and let your exercise professional help you with them.

Take care,


Do you have any recommendations for Saturday morning exercise sessions? I’m single, and wanting to meet new people.

I used to go to Club Lime, but it’s not very social. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

 – Alisa, 36

Hi Alisa

I had to sit on this question for a few weeks. I’m married with three little kids, so I’m probably not the best person to answer this question—unless I’m fleetingly meeting new people at a park for 15 minutes, haha. It’s been a long time since my weekends revolved around meeting new and interesting people.

Finding your “tribe” is what you need though—people who share the same values, same energy, and similar purpose. If you think about “why” you want to get fit, and what makes you really happy—then you’ll find the right people to do it with.

Here are a few suggestions for Saturday morning exercise (I like to try to stick to the questions, rather than thinking I’m a relationship coach!):

  • Parkrun (at multiple locations across Canberra 8 am Saturdays) and coffee (social, free, fun and inclusive of all humans!)
  • Group style fitness (The Den in Deakin, Hiit republic, G-train health and fitness, Orange Theory, F45, the list goes on!)
  • Bootcamps—always fun, engaging and inclusive.
  • Join a cycling or triathlon club?
  • Perhaps search for walking groups in your area on Facebook

On a side note, make sure you exercise more than just on a Saturday. If you want to develop new relationships, and get fit and healthy at the same time, then you need to commit to a regular program at least three times a week.

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