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Staying active at any size
By Lisa Jones
HEALTH MATTERS DECEMBER 2016/JANUARY 2017
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Staying active at any size

There is an ongoing debate about whether it’s possible to be both overweight AND fit at the same time. The idea that a person can be “fat but fit” is based on the premise that a high degree of aerobic fitness can compensate for the known complications associated with being obese. A study carried out at Umea University in Sweden, published in the “Journal of Epidemiology,” suggests that no matter your level of activity and fitness, however, you cannot fully overcome the dangers of being overweight.

“The question of whether you can be fit and overweight has been a popular topic in recent years and this study has provided some evidence that, even if you are physically very fit, being obese increases risk of early death,” researchers pointed out. “Obesity is a condition that leads to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some types of cancers and stroke, so it is important to treat, if possible.”

The good news is that having a rigorous physical fitness routine does help . . . some. It also gets the obese person one step closer to a healthier, leaner lifestyle.

Exercise, no matter what your size or fitness level, is important to overall good health. For those who carry extra weight, it can be a bit more challenging, but not impossible. And research shows physical activity is safe for almost everyone, with the health benefits far outweighing the risks. It is important, of course, to consult your health care provider before starting any new activity or exercise program.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “You don’t need to be an athlete or have special skills or equipment to make physical activity part of your life. Many types of activities you do every day, such as walking your dog or going up and down steps at home or at work, may help improve your health. Try different activities you enjoy. If you like an activity, you’re more likely to stick with it. Anything that gets you moving around, even for a few minutes at a time, is a healthy start to getting fit.”

No matter your size or current fitness, walking is an excellent way to start building your stamina. It is easy to manage for most people and requires very little except a good pair of shoes and some time. Other fun ways to add more activity into your routine are through dancing, bicycling or water aerobics.

Always remember, it’s important to start out at an intensity appropriate to your current level of health and fitness. Push yourself a bit, but not too hard. By slowly building up your fitness routine, you will be taking sure steps toward improving your overall health.

 

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