Contrary to the messages prevalent in our media and in society in general, losing weight does not necessarily equate to being healthy. More to the point, losing weight does not always make a person healthier. While this message crosses gender lines, we would like to emphasize it especially to women.
Unfortunately, in this country people tend to equate thinness to fitness. In fact, being overweight – even slightly – is considered unacceptable to many. But as we learn more about how our bodies work, including the role genetics play in our body type, we understand more and more clearly that a person’s fitness is more important to their weight loss.
In fact, studies are now beginning to support this premise: people who are thin yet lack physical fitness die three times earlier than people who are a few pounds overweight but are fit. Inactive women with poor diets have a higher risk of osteoporosis. When a woman stops moving, her muscles lose their strength and her joints get stiff and, as a result, movement becomes harder. But when a woman combines a healthy diet with an exercise program, her weight naturally drops and, as a result, her health risks diminish.
If you are ready to get fit (which usually means weight loss is close behind), take these steps:
- Check with your physician to be sure you have no health risks.
- Choose exercises and activities that you enjoy so you will stick to them.
- Start slowly if it’s been a while since you exercised regularly.
- Make sure you consider the costs associated with any activities you choose so you can keep within a comfortable budget.
Whatever you do to move, you will become healthier. Losing weight just might be the welcome side effect!
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