Solutions to the Challenges of Living Large or Less Mobile

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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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    WHYNOTJ1 2/9/2021
    I'd love to see the article updated and the links updated. Report
    KATHYJO56 1/24/2021
    good sites Report
    SHAKERATTLEROLL 12/22/2020
    Thank you Beth for all of these good websites. You have done so well on losing your weight and also for education so many like me with so much personal experience. May your career flourish. Report
    EVIE4NOW 11/25/2020
    Thank you. Report
    CD10676776 11/23/2020
    Good need-to-know information, thanks! Report
    PLCHAPPELL 10/10/2020
    Been there Report
    CECELW 9/30/2020
    i've never heard of some of these sites, thank you! Report
    WILDKAT781 9/13/2020
    good info but is no longer a valid website Report
    ROBINRS 7/29/2020
    Already familiar with many of these. Glad you included some men's items. My nephew has major issues clothes shopping. Report
    ROBBIEY 6/16/2020
    Great Report
    CTUPTON 4/28/2020
    Lots of great tips! Thanks, Beth.
    C.J. Banks, Lane Bryant, Kmart.. Report
    I wish SP would update articles, this one is ten years old, many links or companies have been gone for a long time. Roaman’s, Women Within, and Jessica London have been around for decades. And still are. Report
    Thank You...……….. Report
    Oversize Solutions is a dead link. The site is for sale if you have $70,000. Report
    I have been finding some of the most awesome plus size stores online (thank god for the internet lol). But I found a fitness store that sells really nice workout clothing for plus sizes for Women (and I think men). I've been shopping at for years and I absolutely love the selection there! Report
    I usually get my clothes from Woman Within. Occasionally I will get clothes from Walmart,, or Torrid. Report
    I use WomanWithin for the majority of my clothes because of their sizes fit no matter what I get. Sometimes they sell clothes from an outside vendor and it's best to check their size chart as often it is different from the one belonging to WomanWithin. One thing I wouldn't buy from them is house slippers. Don't know but they look they were made in China with poor quality.

    My other go-to is Walmart online. I've learned that you have to purchase one size up from your usual size if you want a comfortable fit as their sizes run a bit small. There are times that I find Just My Size at Walmart as well. This company tends to run their sizes a bit big, but once you get around that hurdle you'll find great foundation garments and they size up fine. Are these clothes expensive, well all clothes for big people are on the bit expensive side. Just know you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for what you get.

    Cheers! Report
    This is a good article, but it is over nine years old, some of the links are no longer valid, or rather, do not have what is mentioned in the article. For example, is now, and mainly a men's big and tall clothing site. Report
    Wow. Members—-thanks for the help! Been living in the same clothes and just deal since Zjust my size stopped the petite length. Report
    My first stop used to be Walmart when they sold Just My Size clothing. I'm not made of money and thankfully have a behind the scenes job so I don't have to "dress" for work which is even more obscenely priced. Besides - I refused to pay $$$ for clothing that is more cheaply made than smaller sizes. I also like Catherine's but only shop their clearance rack or when they have a SUPER sale.
    FullBeauty is a site that combines LaneBryant, Roman's, Ulla Popken, and a few others as well. Report appears to no longer be valid. The domain name is up for sale. Report
    Great information, and positive. Report
    Thank you for the clothing tips Beth! Report
    Unless you have lived at 500 plus some don’t get the challenges from panties, bras, to stylish clothing. At 6-7x it is slim picking especially if your clothing budget is not high. I am now approaching 4x, and it is a relief.
    Some of my go to:
    WomanWithin 7 day comfort knit slacks...used to be all that were a true fit for me.
    BlouseHouse - big sizing and no wearout to their clothes. Great sales and watch for free shipping. Bought the tunic for my son’s wedding a beautiful copper black weave in 6x for $48 and I received dozens of compliments.
    Mizrak mail order out of does need t do quality justice and beyond
    inexpensive. Their elvira sblouses are beautiful and wear is supberb.
    Anthony Richards Essentials out of Cleve go to for nylon briefs up to size 20, certain nightclothes, and their WW Comfortwell shoes are true size, good quality and inexpensive. And, the briefs come in black too, woo woo.
    Now here is a goodie, could not for years find coats that fit...
    Crackerbarrel Store and on line——Capes, zipper, non zip, button, stylish in every color and size imaginable. Under $25, every color and style imaginable, one size fits all, truly and——warm, great to drive in, wash like a dish, and...I have 12 of them some 5 years old and all look like new!
    LivingLarge is excellent for weight bearing chairs, seatbelt extensions including airline. Pricey but I travel with a folder and always will. Nothing worse than no chair to sit on.
    Always as a career woman, it has been a challenge but I rely on my standbys.
    If this helps one of you, it makes me happy.

    Purchased my swimsuit off because: 1) There were real-life customer reviews 2) They had a return policy better than shopping at the local store(s). 3) They had my size (whereas the local store did not). 4) Selection of styles in my size. 5) I wanted function (a suit which I could swim in), not "sun tanning" or "looking good" but found several to pick from which I also liked the look 6) Free ship. 7) I was and am totally satisfied. I might add the price was $12.00! Find that in "plus sized" stores (online or brick-and-mortar). Report
    Great job Report
    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. Report
    Good article.....nice seeing a plus size model attached to an article in a tasteful way. Report
    Thank you for this article! Report
    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. Report
    Thanks Report 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. Report
    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. Report
    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. Report
    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 Report
    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. Report
    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. Report
    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! Report
    Thanks for the great info. There are definitely some new sites I plan to visit. Report
    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. Report
    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. Report
    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 Report
    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. Report
    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. Report
    Bless you for sharing these sites!!!!!!!!! Report
    Thanks for the information. The Avenue carries larger sizes and the clothes are fantastic. Report
    Always shopped the plus sizes of anywhere! Report 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. Report