In the fitness world, it’s one of the oldest conundrums pertaining to goals and consequently, the motivation for attaining those Great physique couple goals. Should you focus on improving your overall health or attaining a great physique? On the surface, it may seem as though a person’s overall health is the clear favorite, but it may not be as simple as it sounds. In fact, I would go so far as to say that you can attain both by focusing on getting a great physique first and foremost. Let’s break it down!
All Data Points To Overall Health As A Byproduct Of Attaining A Great Physique
I know I pissed some people off with that section heading, but hear me out! We can all agree that what constitutes overall health at a minimum would be increased longevity, limited instances of the diseases of affluence (obesity, coronary heart disease, etc.) and the ability to engage in any and all activities that bring joy to a person. When you isolate those three factors contributing to overall health, each one is considerably improved as a person’s physique improves.
Let’s start with longevity. Although some feel as though overall health and a person’s physique are not linked, certain studies have shown a direct correlation between a large midsection and an increased likelihood of premature death (New England Journal Of Medicine):
Having a large waistline can almost double your risk of dying prematurely even if your body mass index is within the ‘normal’ range, according to a new study of over 350,000 people across Europe, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study provides strong evidence that storing excess fat around the waist poses a significant health risk, even in people not considered to be overweight or obese. It suggests that doctors should measure a patient’s waistline and their hips as well as their body mass index as part of standard health checks, according to the researchers, from Imperial College London, the German Institute of Human Nutrition, and other research institutions across Europe.”
Diseases of affluence should be a gimme, but just in case you haven’t heard, I figured I would throw a log on this fire to keep the argument going strong. Here’s how the American Heart Association views the subject (American Heart Association):
Why is exercise or physical activity important?
Regular aerobic physical activity increases your fitness level and capacity for exercise. It also plays a role in both primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke and is linked to cardiovascular mortality.
Regular physical activity can help control blood lipid abnormalities, diabetes, and obesity. Aerobic physical activity can also help reduce blood pressure.”
And that last quote helps explain the third factor of overall health, namely having the ability to engage in the activities that you enjoy. Rock climbing, rowing, hiking, running, trail walking, walking walking, etc. are all activities that people enjoy and are improved as one’s physical fitness improves.
People Want Results!
Results Twitter, text messaging, instant breaking news stories, Facebook feeds, and many more examples exist to back up the fact that people want results! It’s not enough to know something, it’s about being able to see it, hear it, touch it, and then USE it. And while the concept of overall health is extremely beneficial, the results are simply intangible. It is this very fact that makes the goal of a great physique superior in retaining a person’s consistent efforts as opposed to the overall health goal.
You can see a slimming waistline as you buy different waist size jeans, you can touch a six pack and you can flex a growing pair of biceps. It is these payoffs that keep a person physically active, eating right and otherwise striving for a healthy lifestyle. So why fight it?
In closing, I’d like to remind people that overall health should be first and foremost on the old bucket list, but it’s okay to get there by focusing on improving your physique. In fact, given the way our society is structured and the chaotic nature of a results-driven mindset, a physique driven approach may, in fact, provide you a level of overall health that could not have been attained had you fixated your efforts on the latter.
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