Fitness and leanness is a topic that people sometimes talk about and some wonder whether the idea is sound. The idea being that a person who is lean is also fit and/or healthy. This just isn’t the case.
Some people say, and it has been reported in the news, that a person who is overweight but active is healthier than a person who is lean and inactive. There is some truth to this idea. I won’t say that people who are overweight won’t have challenges with their health if the are active, but there are some advantages to being active, even if you are carrying some weight with you.
A study released in March of 99′ showed that unfit lean men who were not active had just over double the risk of all-cause mortality of fit, lean men. That comes as no surprise I think. Unfit lean men also had higher all-cause and CVD mortality than men who were fit and obese.¹ Measurement of fitness was done using VO2 Max on a treadmill.
Another similar study recently published concluded the following: “Maintaining or improving fitness is associated with a lower risk of all-cause and CVD mortality in men. Preventing age-associated fitness loss is important for longevity regardless of BMI change“. (emphasis added)² I think the bolded part is the most interesting. I would even go out on the limb and say that it improves morbidity as well for a whole range of disease. I work out with some people that, although they are probably working out more than myself, complain about unseemly areas on their body or don’t like their stomach or over work it with no visible results. My advice is this; don’t go running for phentermine or any other drug that will help you lose weight. Be happy that you are doing your heart and your over all health a favor. And remember that diet seems to play a large role in your body fat mass just as much as exercise.
With that said, I think those people that qualify in the fit and obese category need to be careful about the types of exercise that they do. Running or jogging can be hard on joints, even if one is lean. I personally like the rowing machine. I get to work my body without putting lots of pressure on my knees, which have some problems of their own. Swimming is great too and your knees and ankles will be thankful. I’m not against running or jogging, just against overdoing it. If something is hurting, there is probably a reason, and having great cardiovascular health at the detriment of needing knee replacements isn’t my idea of a great life.
Remember that carrying extra weight around the gut is also a risk factor for diabetes and other endocrine dysfunction. I recommend using diet and exercise to reduce what you can if it’s there. But even if you’re having a hard time with it, just remember that if you’re bustin your butt to stay in shape, there is some health benefit to it. Keep it up!
1.Lee C.D, Blair S.N, Jackson A.S, Cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, and all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in men. Am J Clin Nutr March 1999 vol. 69 no. 3 373-380
2.Lee D.C et al. Long-term effects of changes in cardiorespiratory fitness and body mass index on all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in men The Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. Circulation. 2011; 124: 2483-2490
Disclaimer: All info on this website is for education purposes only. Any dietary or lifestyle changes that readers want to make should be done with the guidance of a competent medical practitioner. The author assumes no responsibility nor liability for the use or dissemination of this information. Anyone who chooses to apply this information for their own personal use does so at their own risk.