Is Being Fit Better than Being Skinny?

The good news (for many of us) is that it’s more important for our health to be fit than it is to be thin.

"Fit or skinny?" with image of woman standing on a mountain top, arms outstretched

On almost everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions List is “getting fit” and “losing weight.” And most people only last about three weeks before giving up.

The good news? It’s OK to focus on just one of those—if you choose getting and staying fit.

Obviously the best scenario is to be both fit and skinny. But for some of us that seems impossible, especially the older we get.

If you’re one of those who doesn’t have to struggle to stay at (or get to) a healthy weight, count your blessings!

It’s been a struggle for me my whole adult life. And even my thin friends tell me that when they hit a certain age (usually around menopause) they suddenly started having weight issues they’d never had before.

BUT the extra pounds aren’t as great a threat to our overall health as physical inactivity.

Physical Inactivity is Worse than Obesity

Yep, you read that correctly. In fact, health and lifestyle expert Dr. Stephen Blair calls physical inactivity the “biggest public health problem of the 21st century.”

This doesn’t mean obesity is good for us. But, it’s encouraging that we can actively boost our health even if we struggle to maintain a healthy weight.

In fact, staying active along with a commitment to eating more healthy is the best combination in helping shave off or keep off extra weight.

woman in the bow of a loaded canoe on a calm lake
I’ve struggle my whole adult life to keep my weight in check—thankful that I can do so many activities despite!

Health Problems Associated with Aging

The health problems we typically associate with aging are often what results from a lifetime of inactivity. reported: “Regular physical activity has also been associated with greater longevity as well as reduced risk of physical disability and dependence, the most important health outcome, even more than death, for most older people…”

If you want to stay independent as long as possible as you grow older, then regular physical activity is crucial.

Benefits of Physical Fitness

A lifestyle of physical fitness lowers your risk of all the major diseases of our society, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Many cancers, including breast and colon
  • Osteoporosis
  • Dementia and Alzheimers
  • Obesity
  • Depression

Dr. Glenn Gaesser of Arizona State University says: “…exercise and diet have a far greater impact on health than any measure of body weight or body fat.”

women snowshoeing on a frozen lake on a sunny day
When you’re fit, you can enjoy outdoor activities year-round

Fitness Impacts Every System in Our Body

When you’re fit, every system and organ in your body is healthier. Your circulatory and respiratory systems are the ones we most associate with fitness—our heart and lungs.

And our other body systems are positively impacted, too:

  • Digestive system,
  • Brain and nervous system,
  • Bones and muscles,
  • Our mental and emotional “system”
  • Immune system,
  • Even our reproductive system

All these benefit from a lifestyle of physical activity.

Fitness Helps Us Enjoy Activities More

When you’re fit, you’re able to enjoy all your activities more.

When we’re in shape we just plain feel better. And when it comes time to go on our hike, our paddle, our snowshoeing trek—we have more fun because we’re not keeling over in exhaustion.

If you’re a mom or dad with young kids, you can run around with them. If you’re a grandparent, you can keep up with your grandkids with more ease.

a couple walking a dog along a river
One way to make sure you walk often? Get a dog!

Fitness is Good Stewardship

Christians, of all people, should be dedicated to taking care of our body—including maintaining at least a basic level of fitness.

We don’t have to train like Olympians or run marathons. But when we treat our body with respect, we honor our Creator.

We’re His workmanship. We have one body to live in during our life. When we keep that body in good shape, we’re more free to fulfill the call of God on our lives for as long as He gives us breath.

Simple is Fine

Physical activity doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, but it does need to be regular. And you can’t hire an assistant to do it for you 🙂

Like so many things in life, the key is consistency. Keep moving forward. Stay on track. I love this quote from one of my favorite authors, John Maxwell:

“The way you live today impacts your tomorrow.”

Do what you can to carve out time for 3-5 exercise sessions each week of 30-60 minutes:

  • Whatever you enjoy doing…
  • When and where it works best for you
  • Make it an appointment on your calendar
  • Set it up with friends or do it solo

Choose it today…and then tomorrow…and then again the next day.

man hiking down stone steps in the mountains
Hiking is a super way to maintain a basic level of fitness

Wouldn’t it be amazing to look back a year from now and realize you’re in much better physical condition than you were 12 months ago?

Here’s more…