February 15, 2018
Getting plenty of regular exercise may help counteract some of the negatives of being overweight. Studies suggest that people who are active—meaning their bodies can efficiently use oxygen, whether it’s during exercise or cleaning the house—tend to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and many cancers.
Take, for instance, a September PLOS One study that looked at more than 8,000 Korean men and women. The researchers found that metabolically healthy but overweight adults who got at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity had no significantly greater risk of CVD than normal-weight study volunteers.
Another PLOS One study, published last month, found that being fit may help people at any BMI reduce inflammation and abdominal fat. (Both have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other health issues.)
To help reduce disease risk and improve health, the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly, plus two strength-training and flexibility sessions per week.
To lose weight, aim for at least 300 weekly minutes of physical activity. And don’t skip the strength-training. Muscle not only burns more calories than fat but it also can help reduce your chances of developing insulin resistance and prediabetes.
When it comes to eating—whether you are trying to lose weight or not—healthy strategies include being careful about portion sizes, cutting down on empty-calorie foods such as sugary drinks and desserts, adding lean protein and healthy fats to boost satiety, and bulking up your plate with more vegetables.
Make sure you get plenty of fiber, too. Fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans, have been linked with a reduced risk of CVD, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, and may help with weight loss. The recommended daily intake is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men (the amount in 2 and 3 cups of cooked red kidney beans, respectively).