Exercise to be Fit Not Skinny

Good exercise habits yield benefits that go far beyond how skinny you look. The more important outcome of regular exercise is the impact your activity has on long term health outcomes. Sure, we all want to feel confident in our clothes but if we also want to increase our chances of being healthy and fit, our jean size won’t be the only number that matters. What other numbers are good indicators of your level of fitness? Keep reading for numbers that really count


We all have two kinds of cholesterol, a fat like substance that is found in the blood. These are LDL or low density lipoproteins and HDL or high density lipoproteins. Higher LDL levels (the bad cholesterol) are linked to poor cardiovascular health. The threshold for healthy total cholesterol levels is 200 with LDL levels no more than 130. Exercise can help you stay below these limits. Moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, or biking at least 30 minutes most days each week can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels. How? Exercise supports the process by which cholesterol is moved from the blood to the liver and eventually released by your body.

Blood Pressure

Regular exercise improves your resting heart rate and blood pressure. Blood pressure higher than the healthy limit of 120 systolic (the top number) over 80 diastolic (the bottom number) is strongly correlated with heart attack and stroke. Aim for regular moderate to vigorous physical activity to keep your heart and cardiovascular system healthy and strong.


BMI or Body Mass Index is a number used to gauge how healthy your weight is relative to your height. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy. The range between 25.0 and 29.9 is considered overweight and a BMI over 30 is considered obese. Studies have repeatedly found a direct association between obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Calculate your BMI by dividing your weight by your height. Here is an example: 160lbs divided by 5’5 equals a BMI of 26.6, which is considered overweight. Exercise can improve your BMI and reduce the likelihood that you will develop Type 2 diabetes.

When you exercise to be fit not skinny the number on the scale isn’t the one that matters most. Regular exercise can improve heart health and reduce your chances of being diagnosed with a chronic health problem such as diabetes. Visit your healthcare provider annually for a check of the benefits of exercise that you just can’t get from the mirror.