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?