I overheard a conversation one day with my daughter and her teen friends. Someone said something along the lines of, “You don’t need to exercise, you’re skinny.” That opened up a dialogue later on between my daughter and me. I explained to her that exercise isn’t about the size of your body; it’s about your health.
I think that’s one of the biggest detriments to health in general. We equate the way someone looks with their need for exercise. But does a fit body mean you are healthier? Not necessarily.
Health is something that starts within. It’s within the mind, your organs, arteries and the list goes on. Health is about living well and living longer. You can be skinny and actually be less healthy than someone who is larger.
Now of course fitness is part of what gets to you good health. But it’s not the only thing. So you can exercise everyday but if you starve your body, you aren’t healthy. You can walk everyday but if you smoke cigarettes, you aren’t healthy. Get the picture here?
Some people even think that if they exercise several hours a week, they are doing their bodies so much good. But research has shown that you can actually stress your body by doing too much. It can begin to take from your lean body mass in order to make up the extra energy it requires. This puts stress on your body which releases stress-related hormones like cortisol.
Additionally, you put yourself at risk for injury when you decide that you must walk five miles everyday and lift weights for 30 minutes everyday. I realize that is extreme but believe it or not, there are those out there who are this extreme and believe they are healthier for it.
Health is also about rest, eating well, reducing stress and so much more. So we have to be careful that we don’t equate a fit body with good health.