Studies suggest that people who are physically active and overweight have lower rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality than people who are inactive and thin. So whether you're slender or voluptuous, big and tall or thin and small, making physical activity a regular part of your life is vital to improving your health.
Weighing In on Health
That's not to say that size doesn't matter at all. The health risks associated with obesity are well documented: increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer. But what you don't hear very often is that you can reduce these risks by being physically active, even if you don't lose weight.
The health risks associated with being slightly or moderately overweight are less clear-cut. Some studies suggest that being moderately overweight is not linked with an increased risk in mortality, particularly among people who are physically fit. And some researchers are advocating a change in the current categories of overweight.
Start with This Goal
To improve your health, aim for 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity most days of the week to help improve your cardiorespiratory fitness. Thirty minutes 4 or 5 days a week might seem like a lot, especially if you haven't been active in a while or you lead a hectic life. But you'll be adding years of good health to your life if you can get yourself to do this on a regular basis.
That's the tricky part, of course: being physically active on a regular basis. Most people are not as active as they should be, and we're all likely to experience times when exercise falls by the wayside. We have our reasons for falling short, but we can overcome these obstacles with the right approach.