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.
We are all familiar with unfit couch potatoes the sedentary folks who sit all day and shudder at the thought of doing purposeful exercise. Yet, few athletes recognize they may also be couch potatoesapart from the time they spend exercising. Think about it. The average active person:
Sits at breakfast
Drives to work
Sits at work
Takes the elevator to the lunch cafeteria
Sits at lunch
Takes the elevator back to work
Sits at work
Drives to the gym
Exercises for 45 to 60 minutes
Sits at dinner
Sits in front of the TV or computer
Sound familiar? Even if you consider yourself athletic, you likely spend the majority of your day sitting! We no longer get built-in exercise by opening the garage door, rolling down the car window, climbing stairs, walking down the hall to ask a question to a colleague (email is easier), etc., etc.. You get the picture.
We have engineered activity out of our lifestyle. For many of us, the only movement we get in a day is when we do purposeful exercise. According to Neville Owen, speaker at the American College of Sports Medicines Annual Meeting (Seattle, May 2009), the average person sits 9.3 hours a day. This high amount of inactivity is bad for our health, even if we are physically fit.
Owen reports the more a person sits, the higher the risk of mortality. Hence, we not only need to find time to exercise, we also need to find time to not sit such as by standing up when talking on the phone or answering emails (raise your computer by putting it on a cardboard box that you keep under your desk), and biking to work. We can even go back in time and hang laundry out to dry (instead of use the clothes dryer)! I invite you to be creative, and figure out how to move your body in ways that have purpose and meaning. Your health and waistline will be glad you did.