Fit Bits: Fitness or thinness?

6/1/2007 7:00:00 AM

Hello, everyone. I hope you are well and gearing up for the hot summer months.

Summer seems to be a time when we are most active. The warm weather must be the motivating factor for driving us outdoors for all those summer activities; swimming, hiking and biking to name a few.

Considering our higher activity rate, I decided to research the topic of fitness versus thinness. I have found some pretty interesting contrasts.

The studies that I found lean towards fitness being much more important than being thin. There are good arguments to support both.

Being fit decreases the risk of heart disease, stroke and blocked arteries, while being obese or overweight puts you at risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association only rekindled the intense debate over the risks and benefits of being overweight versus being thin.

Public opinion seems to be confused. On one hand, research scientists recommend losing weight and exercising. Yet scientists also state that losing weight and exercising doesn't make a difference.

Do BOTH.

You have heard me on many occasions say exercise, eat balanced meals and maintain a positive attitude. Again, I reiterate that this is a recipe for overall good health. We don't need the AMA to shove these case studies down our throats, but it does reinforce and appeal to common sense about our choices and lifestyle.

The controversy seems to lie in the studies involving women with weight being their main concern. Some women lose weight by dieting with little or no concern about exercise. You now have a person who is no longer overweight (looking pretty good) with very little risk of diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, but this person is not physically fit because of lack of exercise. She is still at risk for heart disease, blocked arteries and stroke.

So let us go back to what I have always ascribed to, which is the total package; exercise, a healthy diet and a positive attitude. This is fitness from the inside out, which just happens to be a lecture I will be giving Thursday, June 14, 12 p.m. 1 p.m. in the Ansari Business Building in Room 106. This is part of the University's Summer Lecture Series, so it is free, but you need to bring a lunch.

I do hope some of the information in the column this month makes perfect sense to you. The answer is clearly to practice being fit and thin.

This is your efitness coach wishing you the best of health and family fun this summer while exercising, eating sensibly and maintaining that positive attitude.


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