Do the health benefits of fitness overpower the health problems of fatness? Yes, to a certain extent. People who are physically fit live longer than unfit people. Fitness helps counter fatness, but not completely--
Data from 650,000 people who were followed for 10 years indicates physically fit but obese people live longer than unfit obese -- but fit-obese do not live as long as fit-lean people.
Compared to active-lean people, here’s how much shorter your life will be if you are obese:
-- 3.2 years earlier death for the active-obese
-- 4.1 years earlier death for the inactive-lean
-- 6.0 years earlier death for inactive-obese.
Even if you are fit, you still need to be active throughout the day, not just during the one hour of purposeful exercise. Fit people who sit too much hurt their health, so try not to be a sedentary athlete! Park your car in the far end of the lot. Take the stairs, not the elevator, etc.
If you (or your loved-ones) are in the unfit-inactive-obese category, get active! Small steps contribute to a healthier, higher quality life-journey.
During their initial appointment with me for a nutrition consultation, many of my clients complain they have “weird” eating habits. They even feel a bit embarrassed they can’t do something as simple as eat normally.
Some of these clients just need nutrition education to get them on the road to healthier food practices. Others have disordered eating practices or outright eating disorders.
If you wonder if you have an eating disorder, this SCOFF quiz can help assess your situation.
1. Do you make yourself Sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
2. Do you worry you have lost Control over how much you eat?
3. Have you recently lost more than 14 pounds in a 3-month period?
4. Do you believe yourself to be Fat when others say you are too thin?
5. Would you say that Food dominates your life?
Give yourself 1 point is for every "yes."
If you score 2 or higher, you likely are struggling with anorexia or bulimia.
Which is the more effective way to lose undesired body fat: add on more exercise or knock off more calories?
According to Dr Jim HIll, speaker at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual convention, knock off the calories. While a combination of exercising more and eating less is a good idea, the key to losing undesired body fat is to eat fewer calories. Subtracting food seems to be more important than adding on exercise for fat loss.
While aerobic exercise like running or cycling does help create a calorie deficit, a smart choice is to also lift weights. This helps preserve your muscles. Otherwise, more of the weight you lose will be in the form of muscle.
Exercise becomes more important when you are ready to maintain your fat loss. Research suggests that dieters who have been obese need about 60 to 90 minutes per day of exercise. (Having been obese seems to reset the metabolism and creates a strong biological drive to regain the weight). Walking is a popular exercise among dieters. Pedometers are helpful tools to guide people to ramp-up their activity, with a goal of 10,000 to 12,000 steps per day.
It’s a good thing you live an active lifestyle! Exercise can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, certain cancers, dementia, and other diseases of aging. But what most people don’t know is 16% of North Americans will die from low fitness / sedentary lifestyle. That's more than the 14% of people who will die from “smokerdiabesity” (smoking, diabetes, and obesity all combined).
If exercise is so good for us, why are so many people failing to exercise regularly? And how can we get them to exercise by choice? Incentives work in the short term. That is, employees who get a discount on their health insurance premium will initiate an exercise program. But in the long term, people maintain an exercise program if it gives them pleasure, makes them feel good about themselves, improves their mood, and offers friendship.
If you are exercising just to lose weight, think again. What happens when you reach your weight goal? You'll still need to keep exercising to maintain that fat loss, so you had better start a program you are interested in enjoying for the rest of your life!
Thanks to ACSM's Exercise is Medicine campaign, doctors are now being encouraged to prescribe exercise to their overfat, underfit, (pre)diabetic clients, telling them how often, how hard, and how long to exercise. This written prescription has been shown to help improve exercise compliance.