Solutions to the Challenges of Living Large or Less Mobile


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  135 comments   :  34,740 Views

By Beth Donovan aka ~Indygirl

People of size or those with limited range of motion have special challenges when trying to get fit. Not only do they have a longer way to go or a harder time getting there, but they have trouble finding equipment and products made for their special needs. Unlike with people in a normal weight range or with normal range of motion, typing what you want into a search engine can yield false results. You have to know the right words and the right places to look for these special needs items.

Good general terms for a search engine are:

  • high weight-- “bariatric”

  • comfortable and safe to use-- “ergonomic.”

    First of all, fitness equipment usually has a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds, if that. What about the rest of us who weigh more? What about those of us who have trouble reaching or need some assistive items with a higher weight capacity? There are solutions!

    Here are some sites that I find helpful and a few with which I have had some personal experience.

    First I would like to talk about the clothing sites. carries high quality sportswear for people up to a 6x. I personally have ordered clothing from this site and find it to be durable and breathable for workouts. Romans and Woman Within are where I purchase the majority of my clothes. They sometimes go up to a 7x/8x, but usually a 5x or 6x is the highest you’ll find. The clothes are very dependant on the maker as far as quality, rather than which site you order from. They do have an easy return policy. Ulla Popken carries up to a 36/38 with very high quality clothing that lasts, and Making It Big carries up to an 8x. There are many more sites, but these are the few I’ve heard good things about or with whom I’ve done business.

    On there are some gyms and resistance chairs that carry up to a 400 pound maximum. Their anti-burst stability balls have a weight capacity of up to 1,000 pounds. There are water aerobics belts with a 61” measurement complete with weights for a good water workout, as well as Altus gyms that attach to your door for a full body workout with no weight limit. also carries bikes and biking gear with up to a 550 pound capacity that is ergonomically designed for the more mobility challenged. If you enjoy camping or sitting outside, they have a variety of outdoor furniture and fold up chairs with the ability to hold up to 650 pounds, some with canopies to shield you from the sun. is a site that has things for hygiene and convenience. You’ll find things there such as oversized hangers and umbrellas to bath aids. They also deal with the delicate subject of cleaning after using the restroom and sell supplies for those who cannot reach to take care of this. There are shower attachments and their bath bench holds up to 650 pounds. has everything for a large person’s needs from very heavy duty bed frames with a 2,300 pound capacity to a heavy duty toilet seat with a 1200 pound capacity. There is a seated walker with a 600 pound capacity. Most of their chairs are rated for 300-400 pounds, however they do have a folding chair model rated for 1000 pound capacity that looks like it would be ideal for outdoors or indoors. There are even high capacity scales up to 800 pounds.

    I didn’t begin to describe all you will find on these sites, nor are these the only sites out there. Play with terms like “heavy duty, bariatric, ergonomic, and high weight capacity” and see what you find. It may not be easy living large, but it can be less hard.

    If you are a person of size, where do you shop for clothes and other items?

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    • 135
      Thank you so much, Beth for these links to places that have exercise equipment for those of us with limited range of motion and are ample sized. You are a God send. - 1/28/2018   4:23:08 AM
    • 134
      Good article.....nice seeing a plus size model attached to an article in a tasteful way. - 1/16/2018   11:17:50 AM
    • 133
      Thank you for this article! - 1/1/2018   12:21:38 PM
    • 132
      I buy most of my clothes from woman-within & roman's. Thanks for the info on the rest. It is really hard to find things and I'm less than 300. - 12/26/2017   6:51:09 AM
    • 131
      Thanks - 12/8/2017   8:12:13 AM
    • 130 is an umbrella website for Woman Within, Romans, and Jessica London plus some other brands, as well as King Size (for men). I like Catherines. for clothes, too and the Avenue -- both have websites and go up to 32. i really miss Fashion Bug which had inexpensive trendy clothes up to 32. - 4/17/2014   7:31:43 AM
    • GLASSGIRL775
      I have received some great clothes from Woman Within but I swear they think large women should all wear tunic-type blouses. Thanks for the list of sites. - 5/19/2013   1:24:43 PM
    • 128
      I really would appreciate a decent work out bra that kept DD's and up from banging your chest to death. All that I can find are so non-fitting you just wind up pushing them back in. Or, if you try underwires, you stab yourself after a few minutes. - 7/16/2012   6:20:55 PM
    • 127
      Yep! Just stopped by to check that the ones I used to use are listed, too (and they are). There was a time in my life when I WISHED I could find these. Luckily, soon after, in my frustration, I was motivated to start on my journey of health, wellness, and smaller sizes.

      Anyone looking for a scale should check out those sites, too. XL-Living, especially.

      Take care,
      Jocelyn - 3/8/2012   7:05:30 PM
    • 126
      Where, oh where were you when I was 613 lbs. I still need this info now but then. You are a God send for the super obese. This was an excellent article and full of needed information. Plus Woman is a site that coustom makes clothing for obese women. Snares of Venus coustom makes bras for cancer victims and anyone who is in need like myself when I was much larger. King Size is geared toward men but that's what I had to wear. I was a men 9XL. - 10/26/2011   12:42:29 AM
    • 125
      I did find that anything "bariatric" costs a LOT more than the regular. I had to shop for medical equipment this winter for my hubby, and was grateful that I was able to save money on the regular size. - 7/31/2011   8:49:06 AM
    • 124
      I was rapidly approaching being more complicated to manage things like airplace seats, going to the bathroom, finding clothes - all that stuff.
      I have always taken great care with my skin and hair etc., but was at a loss as to how to dress properly.
      Thanks for your tips, I'll pass them on! - 7/30/2011   2:39:05 PM
    • 123
      Thanks for the great info. There are definitely some new sites I plan to visit. - 2/2/2011   5:29:05 AM
    • 122
      I have been buying really cute clothes at Jessica London online. They have all sizes, from small up to 5 or 6 x, maybe more. I got so tired of wearing ugly "fat girl" clothes and found this site. Really reasonably priced too. I usually shop the clearance site and have gotten some really good bargains. Not all sizes in everything on clearance though. - 2/1/2011   10:28:46 PM
    • 121
      Thanks so much for the sites. For clothes sometimes has great deals and sizes, it searches mulitple sites hence the one stop name I guess. I've definitly been looking for somewhere to get workout equipment so thanks again. - 2/1/2011   7:05:53 AM
    • SKYLAND1
      by all means im not trying to get out of exercise but i have been trying to get some kind of answer i have copd and on continous oxygen my doctor tells me to excercise and another problem i have maybe someone could give me an answer i dont have any money to spare to go to the gym wish i did though but what kind of exercise can i do at home i do push ups at my kitchen counter i do know i could get cans out of my pantry to lift weights for my arms but thats the only thing thats gettting a work out im looking for some to do for my waist and legs any suggestions woild appreciate o by the way i just joined about a week ago althuogh i started a diet almost a month ago i really like the information i get on here another question do you think its wrong that i only want to weigh myself once a month just asking - 1/27/2011   12:29:38 PM
    • 119
      A big discovery for me at my gym was a Nu-step recumbent cross-trainer. This is very easy on my joints, built very sturdy, and gives me a terrific workout that works every muscle in my body. I have gone from 5 minutes to 60 minutes and my arms and legs are getting really defined and I am able to do much more away from the gym. If your gym doesn't have one--ask them to get one--our Senior Wellness Center has 7 of them and they are busy most of the time. - 8/26/2010   8:36:25 AM
    • 118
      Very helpful links! I'll have to share with my Mom who is still rather large and has trouble finding things that work for her. - 8/26/2010   7:49:53 AM
    • 117
      Bless you for sharing these sites!!!!!!!!! - 5/16/2010   7:09:25 PM
    • 116
      Thanks for the information. The Avenue carries larger sizes and the clothes are fantastic. - 5/3/2010   4:23:35 PM
      Always shopped the plus sizes of anywhere! - 4/26/2010   11:37:05 AM
    • 114 is also a good place to shop online. I believe it is also owned by Romans/Layne Bryant. My Problem now is I am wearing a 12/14 from them and they are hard to find, and money is tight right now. - 4/23/2010   12:54:35 PM
    • 113
      Old Navy has a pretty decent Plus Size section now. I also shop at Lane Bryant a lot. Thanks for the links - love new places to shop! - 4/20/2010   10:51:50 AM
    • 112
      Excellent article with lots of information not readily available elsewhere. I am passing this on to friends I know who will appreciate it as much as I do. Thank you so much.

      p.s. I find it especially validating to learn that there are others out there who have difficulty managing dealing effectively with the cleanliness of those most private of parts... - 4/17/2010   3:59:17 PM
    • SOOSIE-52
      This was such a great article. I've never heard of most of these places, but I will certainly check them out. Thank you very much!!!! - 4/16/2010   8:08:37 AM
    • LBRADSHAW8243
      You are an amazing person for taking the time to provide information to folks who may be too shy to ask for it. Way to go... well written... you knocked it out of the park!! - 4/15/2010   11:51:02 PM
    • 109
      What a GREAT article! I dont need any of the products now, but i appreciate the makers of products for obese people. Especially workout gear/clothes! If you want people who are obese to workout and lose weight - why not have equipment and clothes that will support them!! And why should heavier people where only terrible unnatural fibers and look like Maude... - 4/14/2010   2:28:27 PM
    • 108
      J.C. Penny has a wonderful Men's Big and Tall Section. I have found the 'T' in XLT is most important because it is longer and goes down over the front of my belly. Penny's has lots of selections and if you go at the end of a season, you can get their clearance sales. I wear Short sleeve shirts year-round so I get my best bargains at the end of the summer.
      I am NOT a fan of their online store though; they always seem to NOT have the size I want in the item I want. So going to the store itself has been my choice. - 4/14/2010   2:15:55 PM
    • 107
      Great blog! I think you've found an important niche that's been missing on this site. - 4/14/2010   3:26:45 AM
    • 106
      Lane Bryant has an online outlet. The selection may not be too great, but in comparison, the prices usually are. There are also big and tall men's items and household items like bedding, bath, etc... / - 4/14/2010   1:47:56 AM
    • 105
      Brilliant! As a former 325 lb woman, I know from experience that there are some items - beyond clothing - that absolutely need modification. It is wonderful that these stores exist. I was heaviest as a teenager and there were no products and very few clothes. Big shout-out to Junonia & Making it Big - Junonia makes the best workout gear, polo shirts and swim wear for plus sizes and MIB has great career clothing and natural fiber clothes. - 4/13/2010   5:51:59 PM
    • 104
      Thanks for this blog! While I am not in need of such items now I am glad you shared this info with a population who is often overlooked and ignorant to what is available to get fitter and live large! We have a new woman in our water aerobics class who said bathing suits were the hardest things to find! Igave her the Woman Within site. I didn't know if they would have any or not for her. she says she topped out at 620 pounds but has lost more than 50 at this point. I told her about SP and will pass this blog onto her too. I don't know if she has joined yet, but maybe she will be sparked by your blog! Thanks! - 4/13/2010   4:30:03 PM
    • 103
      Lots of GREAT information. Thank you for passing it on. I really appreciate what you wrote. - 4/13/2010   12:48:16 PM
    • 102
      very helpful blog. great information. Thank you - 4/12/2010   7:41:23 PM
    • 101
      Thank You for providing all of that wonderful information
      Arent we lucky that we have the internet - 4/12/2010   2:57:14 AM
    • 100
      Catherine's is always a good bet if you prefer the hands on method of buying clothes. - 4/11/2010   9:48:08 PM
    • 99
      I worked at Catherines when I was in college and loved every minute of it (including the discount, which I miss)!! The one thing that fascinated me is how we were encouraged to assist the customer in any way that we could, even if we needed to call another store outside of our chain or suggest a website that would fit their clothing needs...especially undergarmets. I am also a big fan of Just My Size clothing...fits my funky curves just right! Thank you for the alternate website suggestions for gym equipment!!! - 4/11/2010   8:21:10 PM
    • 98
      I started my journey buying clothes from Catherine's which is owned by Lane Bryant and the Avenue. They also own Fashion Bug. As I lost, I was able to go to Lane Bryant but found that the prices at Fashion Bug were better. - 4/11/2010   8:14:23 PM
    • 97
      I like Lane Bryant too. I am in between sizes and like others, seemingly a different size in every store & designer there is. I really appreciate the information everyone gave here - as a nurse it will be very helpful to know when working with my bariatric patients! Thanks so much for a great article & some very helpful commentary! - 4/11/2010   4:49:56 PM
      It has always been hard for bigger people to find clothing and durable goods. Thank you for this information! - 4/11/2010   11:59:35 AM
    • 95
      My niece and sister have also bought from The Avenue and Lane Bryant.

      The Woman Within site also has a link for plus size home furnishings. I made a blog post about it last month.
      - 4/11/2010   2:16:24 AM
    • LISAMARIE0360
      Thanks for the great tips! - 4/11/2010   2:08:58 AM
    • 93
      Thank you for this information. As a 3X, I struggle to find many basic things. I am especially annoyed that fat men have no trouble getting clothes, but there is almost no professional wear for a woman my size. Do we not deserve to have jobs?? Maybe they think we just sit home all day and eat. - 4/11/2010   12:56:34 AM
    • 92
      I was never larger than a 1X and a size 16 but my daugher is now a size 20 or larger so it is nice to know I can get things for her that will fit. When I was a 1X my shirt size had to be a 3X only because my bust was so large at 38P (yes that is correct). I was able to have a breast reduction which helped me feel better about myself and start to lose weight and exercise without being embarassed. - 4/10/2010   10:30:38 PM
    • 91
      I usually buy on line from Woman Within were the average largest size they carry seems to be 4X. I have found that some of there tops seem to be cut smaller than before, I have the same top from the same maker and the same size that are cut smaller from the ones I purchased a couple of years ago. - 4/10/2010   2:12:09 PM
    • 90
      This is one of the most useful Blogs I have read. My wife and I use one or two of them but never heard of most of them. Thank you so much! - 4/10/2010   1:52:00 PM
    • 89
      thank you for all the great info. I have shopped at some of them but there are a lot of them I had never heard of. Thanks again - 4/10/2010   12:56:24 PM
    • 88
      i am different sizes in every store it seems! i don't usually order online simply because i have odd proportions, but i am generally able to find clothes at Wal-Mart, Target, Old Navy, Dots, Deb Shops, Torrid, and Lane Bryant. i'm definitely checking out Junonia though because i need more workout clothes. thanks so much for the helpful information!! - 4/10/2010   12:53:17 PM
    • 87
      What a wonderful blog! Thank you so much for all the great links! - 4/10/2010   12:21:52 PM
    • 86
      Thanks for the info. I have found it hard to find decent clothes in larger sizes. I'll check out some of these sites. - 4/10/2010   11:38:34 AM

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