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Why Doesn’t Weight Determine Fitness?

With so many images of skinny athletes on TV and social media, it’s easy to assume that you also need to be toned and lean to be fit. Of course, working towards a healthy weight goal is ideal; after all, being overweight has been linked to increased heart stress, orthopedic problems, and even cancer, But the scale number is not the best way to measure your fitness!

Physical Fitness Signs

There are many ways to define your fitness, but we must consider it an aerobic capacity to perform daily activities effortlessly.

Overall, fitness has four general categories:

  1. Muscle strength
  2. How much weight can you lift?
  3. Cardiovascular Endurance
  4. How well can you run or cycle for an extended period?
  5. Joint Flexibility
  6. How much you can move through a full range of motion and relax and stretch your muscles.
  7. Body Composition
  8. How much fat versus power do you have?

Weight Is Not Everything

Consider football players for a moment. Some may have a body mass index (BMI) well above 30, putting them in the obese category. But in some rare cases, they are also only 4% fat. Yes, this is an extreme example, but the general conclusion is that active, fit people tend to have more lean mass than sedentary people.

When it comes to fitness, we are much more concerned with body fat percentage than just weight. Twenty-five percent or less body fat for women and 15% or less for men is ideal.

Regarding fitness, lack of movement can be more damaging: “There are millions of people who are thin but inadequately — largely with a sedentary lifestyle,”  Ph.D., professor of science at exercise in the USA. He adds that overweight people with high cardiovascular fitness have better prospects for longevity than thin people with low cardiovascular fitness.

It’s still better to aim for healthy body weight,  Most of the time, fatty tissue doesn’t metabolize much – it simply comes as “excess baggage.” In this sense, studies have found that the increase in body fat is related to the decrease in the level of aerobic fitness.

How To Increase Your Fitness Level?

  • For beginners, try walking 1.5 km. If you take more than 20 minutes, there is room for improvement. Being able to do at least 10 minutes at a fast pace on a treadmill is a good sign of cardiovascular fitness.
  • Know your starting point. From there, the recipe for increasing fitness is threefold—make meals with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains; do aerobic exercises; start bodybuilding.
  • Plan at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise. This is equivalent to a brisk walk. High-intensity exercise, if well tolerated, will further increase cardiovascular fitness.
  • Don’t skimp on intensity. “In 30 minutes of strength training, you burn 200 to 250 calories. So, for the next three days after your workout, you increase your metabolic rate by 5% – which means you burn an extra 90 calories daily. All of this will help you with body composition.

The world is more passive – or at least part of it. And this is far from just a matter related to a more defined body. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 70% of the world’s population is sedentary. 70% of people worldwide have a much higher risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and obesity, among other diseases directly linked to physical inactivity. There are 1.4 billion individuals in these conditions, including children, adolescents, and young people. 

With the changes in the population’s habits in recent decades, the human body has gradually suffered the consequences. Today, there is much less walking; elevators and escalators are preferred. Delivery services for various products significantly reduce the need to travel for shopping, and the innovations that made our lives more practical also impacted people’s mobility. Everything became more accessible, but it also encouraged a sedentary lifestyle. 


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