FAT AND FIT

A woman goes to the doctor for a yearly physical. The nurse starts with certain basic items.  “How much do you weigh?”  “115″ replies the lady.  The nurse puts her on the scale and it turns out she is 140 pounds.  The nurse asks, “And what is your  height?”  “5′ 8′,” the woman responds.  The nurse checks and sees the lady measures only 5′ 5″.  She then takes the woman’s blood pressure and informs the gal it’s quite high.  “Of course it’s high!” she screams, “When I came in here I was tall and slender! Now I’m short and fat!”

Dr. Steven Blair, PhD, is one of the world’s leading experts when it comes to the science of exercise.  Professor Blair is Chairman of the Department of Exercise Science, Epidemiology and Bio-statistics at the University of Texas’s Arnold School of Public Health.  He is also the Director of The Cooper Institute  in Dallas.  The latter is a research company dedicated to proving that exercise is medicinal, showing the positive effects that health and fitness can have on the quality and quantity of a person’s life.  This non-profit organization was founded in 1970 by Kenneth Cooper, the “father” of aerobic exercise.

Now you would think that Steven Blair would be svelte (slender in body).  However, at 5 feet/4 inches tall and tipping the scale over 180 pounds, such is not the case.  But his girth is deceptive, for he runs 30 miles a week and would leave most slender people in the dust.

But Blair isn’t the only fit person masked by a fat body.  Of the tens of thousands of people, of all different shapes and sizes, who have stepped on the treadmills at The Cooper Institute, there have been heavier people able to walk impressive distances, far enough to put other lighter individuals to shame.  All of which led to the question, “Is fat really the big-time health killer it has been made out to be?”  Dr. Blair for one, thinks the blame lies elsewhere.  He summarized his thoughts in a provocative (and widely reported) statement at a meeting of the Association for the Study of Obesity: “There is a misdirected obsession with weight and weight loss,” he said, “The focus is all wrong.  It’s fitness that’s the key.”  Now his opinion may seem self-serving, but Dr. Blair had solid data to back up his view.  In one noteworthy study, he and his colleagues put 22,000 heavy and light people through their paces on a treadmill, measuring how fit each one of them was.  Then years later, they discovered that the heavier-and-fit subjects had less than half the death rate as that of the lighter-and-not-fit individuals.

And Blair is not alone in the fit can come in all sizes belief.  Dr. Glen Glasser, PhD, is the professor of Exercise and Wellness at Arizona State University.  He is the author of Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health.  He writes, “The message should really be that if you are exercising regularly, you shouldn’t always be looking at the scale to determine how healthy you are.  Yes, if you are overweight, you have every incentive to work-out regularly and watch your diet .  But remember, even if the perfect body eludes you, a fit body is still well within your reach.”  Both Dr. Blair and Dr. Glasser say there are a multitude of reasons as to why regular physical exercise is such strong medicine.  One is because muscles are the largest consumers of sugar in the body, meaning increased muscle mass reduces the chance of excess sugar accumulating in the blood, which is essentially what diabetes is.  Another is it reduces inflammation in the cardiovascular system, allowing blood to flow more easily and so preventing the formation of deadly clots leading to heart attacks.  And not only do daily work-outs reduce your risk of needing insulin and or having a stroke, they  also – lower stress, elevate mood, boost energy and improve sleep; even if you don’t shed a single pound along the way.

The bottom line?  After reading the above, it gives a whole new meaning to the saying, “fit as a fiddle”.

✓Note – Walking may be the best form of physical exercise for seniors. Packed with health benefits, it has all of the hallmarks of a senior-friendly work-out: it can be performed at a low or moderate intensity, it’s easy on the joints, it has a low risk of injury, and it’s simple to start.  The general recommendation is that seniors age 65 and older get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) every week. This averages out to about 30 minutes a day and can be done at most any time and in a variety of settings.

Genesis 3:8 – And they heard the voice of the Lord God (Jesus) walking in the garden in the cool of the day…