Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fat and Fit?

Is it possible to be fat and fit? Imagine if you worked out hard four to six hours a week yet ate heartily all the time and were technically overweight. I've often thought that overweight people should be fit. Afterall they are constantly exercising carrying all that fat about with them. I used to run carrying a backpack with two 5KG bags of rice in it in an effort to improve my strength and endurence so why woudn't carrying 10KG of fat internally be any different? Yet it does seem to be different. I've never actually met a fat, very fit person. In fact very fit people are reasonably rare as it is. Do fat people eat unhealthy food? Would eating only healthy food and exercising regularly eventually result in a thin person?

My gut feeling (excuse the pun) is that the human body needs to be calorie depleted reasonably regularly and excessive fat deposits make this impossible. Eating all the time, even healthy food (and what is healthy food?) does not give the body time to use the fat deposits that need to grow and deplete regularly. Maybe depositing fat and burning that fat is a form of metabolic exercise. If you never burn that fat and move it around it solidifies and the body ceases to function as it should exposing it to the risks of cardio-vascular disease and cancer.

I googled up "fat and fit" and read a couple of articles. The follwing quotes are a few snippets that I thought were of interest:

"It's hard to maintain overweight if you're physically fit,"

"Being physically active and fat is better than being fat and sedentary, but not as healthy as being lean and physically active,"

"Obesity is a symptom of behavior, and that behavior is physical inactivity and poor diet,"
The fat-and-fit person is "an unusual situation,"

"Sure you can be fat and fit," says Tim Church, MD, MPH, PhD,vice president of research at Cooper Institute in Dallas. "Then again,it doesn't take much to be fit."

At every level of physical activity, according to researchers, fatness predicted a higherrisk of death.

"We've studied this from many perspectives in women and in men and we get the same answer: It's not the obesity -- it's the fitness," Blair said. "Fitness can substantially reduce, if not eliminate, the high risk of being obese."

"One of the big problems is by the time people become overweight or obese it's very hard for them to become active. They've developed arthritis or other problems that makes it hard, which is why we have to pay attention to weight early on," Willett said.

Being overweight significantly increases the risk of a host of debilitating and often deadly health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, cancer and diabetes.

"When you look at the data carefully, you find that people who are active and lean have the lowest mortality of all," Willett said.

PS - The picture is entirely gratuitous and irrelevant to this post yet does have a point of interest.

No comments: