- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Fat Can Be Fit If You Exercise Regularly
FAT AND FIT
FAT CAN BE FIT IF YOU EXERCISE REGULARLY
Is it possible to be fat and also fit ? You would react to this statement and say "You go from being chubby to fat, to obese, to morbidly obese. And then there is death." Only losing weight can save people from that fate, you might believe.
Most people agree that fat kills. Why else we would have to step on the weighing scale when we go to a doctor ? Why else would experts write books with titles like "Fit or Fat" and "Weigh Less, Live Longer"? In fact Our wisdom says : If you want to win over Heart disease, Stroke, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes and even some Cancers, you had better lose some weight first.
However, a recent study that describes the relationship of weight and over-all health came to a different conclusion. Epidemiologist Steven Blair at the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas in a study follow up of 25,389 men showed that, fat men were more likely to get sick and die early than thinner ones. But then, Blair added physical fitness to the study.
He found that fit, fat men lived as long as fit, thin men. And, thinner men who were out of shape and not fit were nearly three times more likely to die young than fat men who were fit. In other words once Blair took into account the men's fitness levels, their weight had no bearing on how long they lived. This study threw a new light on weight and fitness equation. It has now been established that as long as they get in good shape, people who are over-weight by 10 or 15 kilos they have no increased risk of mortality. And to those adults who are not over-weight Blair issues a warning : if you do not regularly exercise, being slim is no guarantee against premature death.
Although excess weight is associated with coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and colon cancer, those are exactly the problems regular exercise can help to prevent.
Overweight people suffer, perhaps at a greater frequency, the same diseases as sedentary and unfit people of every weight. Other researchers can sometimes find a correlation between weight and early death because fewer heavy people than slender people exercise. But that does not mean that there are no heavy weight exercisers. About 40 percent of such overweight people who exercise regularly are fit. Moreover all thin people are not physically active, and hence they are not fit. How can one be so sure that it is weight that kills ? Maybe it is just inactivity.
Physical activity is tremendously important. But you cannot go to the extreme and say that it is 100 percent activity, and weight means nothing. Overweight and inactivity are intimately linked.
Extra fatty tissue in the abdominal area, contributes to heart disease. Those fat cells release fatty acids that travel directly to the liver, where they interfere with the way insulin converts glucose into energy. A vicious cycle sets in, known as insulin resistance. The body produces more insulin to compensate for insulin's decreased effectiveness and the extra glucose that is not converted into energy remains in the blood stream. This leads to problems including high blood sugars i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure and lower HDL (good ) cholesterol, thereby increasing risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes.
Belly fat can be dangerous. But, almost anyone can fight out insulin resistance with regular exercise, which burns off fat and helps to control other metabolic risk factors such as high blood pressure and high blood lipids. Blair says, "Only people who are severely obese - those too fat to get out and walk - need to lose weight before starting an exercise programme. Otherwise, the mildly or moderately obese may be committing no crime against their health prospects - if they exercise regularly and eat a healthful diet. They are just heavy. We need to pay less attention to the weighing scale and focus more on regular activity.
Weight is the crudest measurement of health. It is better to see a heavy person who is physically active than a skinny person who is completely out of shape physically.
Fat can sometimes be a threat. If there is a person who exercises but has a lot of belly fat and other risk factors for diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar levels, then that person should try to trim down by exercising even more and cutting calories. But the advice that heavy people need to lose weight through diet does not always make sense.
To improve your health, you should exercise regularly and eat a diet low in fat and high in vegetables and grains. If you exercise to improve the quality of your life and get in shape, you will feel satisfied with yourself. One thing most health experts won't dispute is : thin or fat, everyone who exercises gets healthier.