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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fit versus Fat

Can one be overweight and yet be fit?  Are there any health benefits to becoming more fit even if you are overweight?  The usual answer is NO, but more recent studies are indicating the answer could be YES.  A recent article in Circulation looked at 14,345 men, 47 percent of whom were overweight.  The overweight men who maintained their cardiorespiratory fitness level over six years were 30% less likely to die of heart disease or stroke than those who weren’t fit.  Another study of 855 coronary artery disease patients at Mayo Clinic found that even if overweight, those with high fitness levels were much less likely to die.  Who was the comparison group?  People who were a normal weight but didn’t exercise. 

So who is better off, the lean guy who isn’t fit or the overweight guy who is fit?  Well, according to this study, the overweight guy who works out can improve his health and lower his risk of diseases like heart attack and stroke. 

Can’t lose weight?  Well, at least try to become fitter.  Even though being overweight increases your risk of diseases, becoming fit but overweight lessens these health risks.   Moreover, all that exercise may lead to weight loss, a double benefit.  Yes, weight loss would still be a good goal but adding exercise has health benefits even if one can’t lose the weight. 

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