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Q: I’m a bit overweight, but I exercise a lot. I’m frustrated. Is it possible to be fat and fit?

A: Yes, you can be overweight and in good shape at the same time. In fact, physiologists now believe that being overweight and fit is far healthier than being skinny and out of shape.

How much healthier? One recent study of 2,600 people shows that subjects who were unfit were four times more likely to die than those who were very fit -- whether those fit people were normal weight, overweight, or obese. That’s because exercise -- no matter how much you weigh -- reduces your risk of a broad range of ailments, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.

If you’re very out of shape or if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. But remember that even starting out slowly confers some benefits.

According to exercise physiologist Stephen Blair, who has conducted several studies of fitness and mortality, taking just three 10-minute walks a day, five days a week, will keep you healthier.

Get more exercise and you’ll reap even more benefits, including shedding some of that extra weight.

Laurie Anderson, RN, FNP, MSN, WebMD Heart Disease Expert

 

 

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