Those of us battling weight issues often cast a resentful eye on skinny people…especially those who come by their thin physique effortlessly.
You know the type…people who never exercise and can eat whatever they want without gaining a pound.
Meanwhile, we kill ourselves at the gym and still end up putting on weight.
New research shows that our jealousy may be misplaced. It turns out that the people we love to hate are no healthier than we are. In fact, their heart may be in far worse shape.
The study comes from the University of Florida. It shows that thin people who don’t exercise have the same risk for heart disease as active overweight people.
The lead investigator was Dr. Arch G. Mainous III. He said that simply being thin doesn’t mean you’re in good health. “If you’re not exercising, you’re not doing enough,” he said.
The study was based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Researchers looked at people between 40 and 79. None had been diagnosed with heart disease.
Scientists measured the participants’ stomach fat and waist circumference. They looked at the amount of time they spent being sedentary. They also tested whether they had shortness of breath following mild exertion.
The research team also calculated the participants’ American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association (ASCVD) risk score. The score is based on factors such as sex, age, ethnicity, diabetes status, smoking status, and blood pressure.
A score of 7.5 or higher is considered high-risk for a heart attack or stroke.
The team found that high ASCVD risk scores for overweight people were about as common as high risk scores for people with a normal weight who are sedentary.
Dr. Mainous said that lack of exercise “can erode the advantage of healthy weight.”
It can “increase the cardiovascular risk” to the same level as overweight people.
The Best Exercise for Your Heart
The bottom line?
Even if you’re thin you need to exercise.
But you don’t have to devote your life to it.
The most efficient workout is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It takes less than 20 minutes. And studies show it’s better for your heart than traditional moderate-intensity exercises like jogging.
Here’s how to do it…
HIIT is adaptable to many different activities. You can run, cycle, swim, do calisthenics, or use a rowing, stair climber, or elliptical machine.
Warm up for three to five minutes doing your chosen form of exercise slowly.
Then do the exercise at the highest intensity you can for the next minute.
Slow down for a minute or two to catch your breath. Then go hard again for another minute.
Repeat this process five to seven times. Afterward, do the activity slowly for at least two minutes to cool down.
The idea is to push your body for a brief burst, and then allow it to recover. HIIT allows you stay in great shape even when you don’t have time for a long workout.