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Can You Be Fat and Fit Without Exercise?

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We know that exercise is good for us. We also know that “fitness” is good and that being overweight is bad. In fact, both consistent exercise and high fitness levels are associated with longer life. However, in recent years some people have proposed that you can be both overweight and fit without much exercise. Really? Can you be fat and fit? Can you be fit without exercise?

We know what fat is and we know what exercise is. The key is what fitness is. Usually, it is defined by VO2max, most widely used measurement of cardiovascular capacity. So along comes a study that sought to show the relationship to longevity of both exercise and VO2max. Over 11,000 subjects had their VO2max tested and filled out a questionnaire about their exercise habits. Of course, some of the subjects died over the next ten years. Which ones?

The exercisers had a seventeen per cent lower risk of dying than the non-exercisers. The fit group had a twelve per cent lower risk of dying that the relatively unfit. After statistically adjusting for differences in exercise and fitness between the subjects, the researchers concluded that the exercise caused the fitness, but that it was the fitness that was ultimately the best predictor of longevity. Exercise is the most common cause of fitness, but fitness can be inherited, as well.

Thus, it is possible to be fat, fit, and long-living, but if you want to increase your chances, stop reading and start exercising! To learn more, see the study from a presentation of the American Academy of Sports Medicine in Denver presented by Taryn Davidson of Queen’s University in Canada.

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