Wishful thinking or based on fact. The debate surrounding whether it is possible to be obese and still metabolically fit has long been a contentious issue. In a recent US study reported in the media this age old issue is given new scrutiny.
So can you be fat & fit?
Whilst it’s without doubt obvious that some athletes considered “clinically obese” can perform tasks way beyond the capabilities of the average sports person. It is also well documented the relationship around higher levels of body fats and effects on several critical body systems.
Take the Sumo athletes in this picture for instance. Now sumo wrestlers are at the extreme end of the scale but high strength athletes have long been the go to men when justifying a higher level of body mass. But their fit and strong, so whats the issue?
As reported by UK national newspaper The Times. A new peer reviewed study by Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto looks in to the risks of weight and metabolic factors. It looks at how long you’ll live and what diseases your likely to get.
Whilst the same good fundamentals will never change:
- Maintain a healthy weight (BMI between 19 and 25)
- Stop Smoking
- Limit intake of alcohol
- Eat a clean balanced healthy option controlled diet
- Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise
Not rocket science really is it. Maintaining it is the hard part.
The study did however point out that being a little overweight whilst remaining metabolically fit carries no significant risk as long as the additional weight doesn’t stray into obesity levels.
A big relief to those who over analyses or obsess over the slightest weight gain. You can relax a little over Christmas whithout feeling too guilty!
The study analyzed 12 PubMed database studies from 1952-2012 looking at several common fitness perimeters. Categorizing participants’ metabolic status according to waist circumference,l, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting triglyceride level and fasting blood sugar.
Then cross referencing several healthy and non health people types against the most common fatal and non fatal cardiovascular events, heart attacks stokes etc. Yeah nice hey!
This results were then collated to produce an overall “Risk Score”. The researchers found that from 12 studies involving 72,567 people. The overall risk of getting a problem remained the same for both metabolically healthy people or not.
The researchers calculated a 0.7% increased risk factor among the metabolically healthy individuals. That doesn’t sound a lot. But when you consider that increase over a 10-11 year period that could result in 1.4 million incidents of death from a cardiovascular related event!
So getting fat is bad whether your fit or not!
Whilst it has to be said that any exercise is better than no exercise. It can be that case that going through the motions and hovering around the higher end of your BMI won’t do you many favors over the long run.
People focusing on a high strength muscular figure would do remember that incorporating anaerobic cardiovascular work into their routine will do no harm.
Everything in moderation as they say.
So what can you do to reduce the risk
Ensuring your calorie intake remains specific to your activity level is important. Whilst it is difficult. Gradually adjusting your intake when accounting for a period of inactivity can help to alleviate the roller coaster weight gain and loss that affects people with busy lives.
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