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Fitness vs. Fatness

Home » » Fitness vs. Fatness

I recently read a research paper which examined the relationship of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and obesity. I really think the information from this study is important to share because it emphasizes the importance of a person’s physical activity and not their weight as determinants to health.

This paper looked at the effect that these two things have on a person’s mortality risk (i.e. risk of dying). In the paper, Barry and his colleagues found that the risk of death was dependent upon fitness level and not a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI). They went on to state that:
these findings are promising for all individuals, including those unable to lose weight or maintain weight loss, as all can experience significant health benefits by developing and maintaining a moderate level of CRF by participating regularly in Physical Activity (PA; e.g. brisk walking, biking) at the level of PA currently recommended by the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines.”

Further, it was concluded that unfit individuals have twice the risk of death regardless of BMI, while individuals who are fit but overweight have similar risk of death as their normal weight counterparts.

This study backs up other studies which concluded that a higher fitness level independently reduces mortality risk regardless of BMI and that individuals with elevated body weight and good fitness have a lower mortality risk than normal weight individual with poor fitness.

Why is this such good news? Because, it shows us that regardless of your body type/shape, getting physically active is good for you. You do not have to wait to lose some weight before starting an exercise program. In fact, losing weight should not and does not need to to be, the focus of why you become more physical active. The priority should be given to increasing physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness as a means to reduce risk for disease and death.

The other good news is that the amount of physical activity needed to develop a moderate level of CRF is not out of reach for most individuals. Current guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week, which can be accumulated in doses of 10 minutes or more.

Now, this is not to say that you should ignore diet completely and only focus on activity, because there is also a ton of health benefits for eating well (which I will review in the future). But, it should be a relief to those struggling with their weight to know that even if the scale or mirror does not show a big change with exercise/physical activity, you are still doing your body good! So, keep or get moving and if you need some help getting started, reach out to me and I will assist you in any way.


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