Sometimes, those last ten pounds just won’t go away. You try everything from restricting carbs to cutting out protein to only eating orange-colored foods on Thursdays and red on Fridays, but to no avail. You’re doomed to remain overweight, so you accept it. You grab the bag of chips and plop down on the couch, embracing your pudgy, sedentary fate. And in doing so, you lose something even more important than those last ten pounds; you lose fitness.
Fitness, new studies suggest, is an even more important aspect of health than weight. When 2,603 seniors were followed for 12 years, those who were unfit were fifty percent more likely to die. They were also more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the country’s leading cause of death. Even those who fell in the normal-weight range couldn’t escape the dangers of sloth-like inactivity. Their health was worse than some of the overweight and obese participants.
So what’s the lesson here?
It’s not to ignore weight. That’s still an important factor in health. However, if you can’t attain the ideal mass, don’t take that as a sign to become largely sedentary. Continue exercising. Thirty minutes a day will make a huge difference in a life that previously saw no activity. You should be able to step onto a treadmill with the confidence that you’ll easily step off of it. Stay fit longer and you just may live longer.