Being Both "Fat" and Fit: Information About BMI and Fitness
It’s true that someone can have a body mass index (BMI) in the overweight or obese range and still be considered physically fit. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines physical fitness as “a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity.” In other words, the number on the scale is only a piece of your body’s puzzle.
1. Fat Facts
- A few extra pounds may actually be beneficial for people with osteoporosis. The more stress you put on bones, the more they grow, so someone who weighs more tends to have stronger bone.
- Not all body fat is created equal. Hip and thigh fat is considered healthier than belly fat. Scientists don’t know exactly why belly fat is particularly dangerous, but research suggests it interferes with the body’s ability to process sugar.
- To exercise for heart health, you need to do 30 minutes of physical activity a day. To lose weight, you’ll need to work up to 60 minutes a day.
2. Fit Tips
- Change up your cardiovascular routine - Alternate between two or more cardiovascular activities like walking and cycling or kickboxing and jogging. This habit keeps cardio fun, helps prevent injury by not overworking muscles and burns more calories.
- Warm up before a strength training workout - Warming up increases blood flow to muscles, giving you better muscle contraction. You’ll sweat earlier, which helps to regulate your body temperature. Just five minutes of walking or cycling is all you need.
- Eat 5 to 6 small meals a day - It takes energy (calories) for your body to digest the food you eat. Eating several times throughout the day increases the energy your body needs, so you burn more calories.
3. Here’s what really defines your fitness (and how it benefits you)
- Cardiorespiratory endurance - Burns calories, improves one’s heart and lung health.
- Muscular strength - Builds stronger muscles, burns calories, increases energy levels, promotes healthy aging.
- Muscular endurance - Increases metabolism, reduces fatigue, improves posture, reduces injuries.
- Body composition - Describes the percentage of fat-free mass (muscle, fat and bone) in the body.
- Flexibility - Improves athletic performance, decreases the risk of activitybased injuries.
Exercise is a vital part of maintaining fitness, but a well-balanced diet is just as important. Not sure where to start? Here are a few quick tips:
- Say yes to carbs - Carbohydrates provide 45-60% of your energy levels. Opt for good carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds, high fibers, 100% whole grains, raw, whole and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t forget the protein - A daily source of protein is crucial for the body’s regulation and maintenance. In addition to the meaty sources —chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, beef, or buffalo—you can also find protein in other places, such as eggs, fish, and dairy. Even bee pollen protein digests easily and is rich with many other nutrients.
- Stay hydrated - The easiest to do—and often the hardest to remember. Whether it’s a little exercise or a lot, hydration is key to keeping your skin beautiful, digestive system running smoothly, and energy levels high.
4. Food for Thought
- “Never, never, never, never give up.” ~Winston Churchill
- “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
- “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” ~Jim Ryan
- “Clear your mind of can’t.” ~Samuel Johnson
- “YOU ARE PERFECT with ALL YOUR IMPERFECTIONS” ~ Victoria Proctor
Victoria Proctor, M.A., B.S.N., R.N., C.H.H.C., oversees Spirit of Women at Northwest Hospital. Victoria is a Master’s prepared exercise physiologist, registered nurse and certified holistic health counselor. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Frostburg State University, a B.S.N. from Johns Hopkins University, an M.A. from University of Maryland at College Park, and her certification ...