Myth #10: Being skinny means you are healthy
This is a myth that I deal with a lot. Not necessarily because I have to tell thin people that they’re actually in poor health, but because the firefighters I work with often feel discouraged when their exercise efforts are not resulting in as much weight loss as expected.
So, to them I say this: your weight loss efforts are not in vain – when you’re exercising there are amazing things going on inside your body, adding years to your life, that you cannot see or feel. Exercise, regardless of your weight, makes you more sensitive to insulin, raises your HDL “good” cholesterol and lowers your blood pressure, resulting in a reduced risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Yes, having a healthy weight and body composition is very important for your health, but being skinny is not the end all be all.
In fact, your aerobic capacity may say more about your health than your weight. Take a look at the table below. This was a study including 20,000 men, aged 30 to 83 years, who were followed for 8 years. Results illustrated that for all men, regardless of whether they were lean, normal weight or obese, being aerobically fit significantly reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Moreover, an obese but aerobically fit man had a significantly lower risk of early death compared to a lean but unfit man.
It turns out being “skinny fat” is just as bad as being “skinny unfit.”
In the comments below, tell me: does this surprise you? Also, are there any fitness/nutrition myths out there that you have questions about or that get on your nerves? Let me know!
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