Is Being Fit Better than Being Skinny?

On almost everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions List is “getting (or staying) fit” and “losing weight.” And most people only last about three weeks before giving up.

The good news? It’s ok to focus on just one of those—if you choose getting and staying fit.

woman standing on a mountaintop with arms out and smiling: "Fit or Skinny?

Obviously the best scenario is to be both fit and skinny. But for some of us that seems impossible, especially the older we get. If you’re one of those who doesn’t have to struggle to stay at (or get to) a healthy weight, count your blessings!

It’s been a struggle for me my whole adult life. And even my thin friends tell me when they hit a certain age (usually around menopause) they suddenly started having weight issues they’d never had before.

But the extra pounds aren’t as great a threat to our overall health as physical inactivity.

Physical inactivity is worse than obesity!

Yep, you heard that right. In fact, health and lifestyle expert Dr. Stephen Blair calls physical inactivity the “biggest public health problem of the 21st century.” (For more on this, read Physical Inactivity: The Biggest Health Problem of Our Time)

Health problems we normally associate with aging are really…

…the health problems that result from a lifetime of inactivity. reported: “Regular physical activity has also been associated with greater longevity as well as reduced risk of physical disability and dependence, the most important health outcome, even more than death, for most older people…”

woman in front of a canoe on a large, calm lake, paddling
I’ve struggled my whole life to keep weight off—it’s good news that I can still be healthy through activity!

A lifestyle of physical fitness lowers your risk of all the major diseases of our society, including…

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Many cancers, including breast and colon
  • Osteoporosis
  • Dementia and Alzheimers
  • Obesity
  • Depression

Dr. Glenn Gaesser of Arizona State University says: “What we’re learning is that a body that exercises regularly is generally a healthy body, whether that body is fat or thin.”

When you’re fit, every system and organ in your body is healthier

Your circulatory and respiratory systems are the ones we most associate with fitness: our heart and lungs.

But the others, too: our digestive system, our brain and nervous system, our bones and muscles, our mental and emotional “system,” our immune system, even our reproductive system—all benefit from a lifestyle of fitness.

women snowshoeing across a frozen lake on a sunny day
When you’re fit, you can enjoy outdoor activities year-round

When you’re fit, you enjoy all your other activities more

When we’re in shape we just plain feel better. And when it comes time to go on our hike, our paddle, our snowshoeing trek—we have more fun because we’re not keeling over in exhaustion!

If you’re a mom with young kids, you can run around with them. If you’re a grandma, you can keep up with your grandkids.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be regular

Like so many things in life, the key is consistency. Keep moving forward. Stay on track. I love this quote from one of my favorite authors, John Maxwell:

“The way you live today impacts your tomorrow.”

So carve out time for 3-5 exercise sessions each week…

  • Whatever you enjoy doing…
  • When and where it works best for you
  • Make it an appointment on your daytimer or phone calendar
  • Set it up with friends or do it solo, but…

Just do it!

Choose it today…and then tomorrow…and then again the next day. Wouldn’t it be amazing to look back a year from now and realize you did it? You can!

when being fit is better than being skinny

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