Would it surprise you to know that if you are thin you might still be at risk for obesity-related diseases such as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes? If you have normal weight obesity, you are. Normal weight obesity is defined as having normal body weight as determined by body mass index (BMI), but a high body fat percentage. You can easily decrease your risk by knowing your body numbers and incorporating strength training exercises into your workout routine.
Determine Your Body Mass Index (BMI)
A normal BMI for adults is considered to range from 18.5-24.9. It has been a long-standing biometric tool to determine a patient’s quick picture of health, their weight compared to their height. To determine your BMI, you calculate your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters. BMI = weight (kilograms) / height (meters) squared.
- normal = BMI 18.5 – 24.9
- overweight = BMI 25 – 30
- obese = BMI > 30
An overweight or obese BMI can be a precursor to health issues such as type II diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, cancer, and heart disease. As the medical community is striving to refine diagnostic, education and treatment remedies for these diseases their population focus may need to shift. The latest research shows that there may be more to the picture.
Normal Weight Obesity
It is no longer considered the gold standard to just have normal weight for your height. Health issues once described “high risk” categories for overweight and obese patients are now appearing in those with normal weight obesity. Research conducted at Mayo Clinic found that normal weight obesity effects more than 50% of adults with a normal BMI, putting them at risk for health problems, especially heart disease.
Body fat percentage can be calculated by using a skin-fold test, underwater weighing, body density, or bioelectrical impediance analysis. An acceptable body fat percentage is considered to be:
- women < 30%
- men < 20%
Strength Training May Save Your Life
If you are not one of the few people blessed with genetically flawless metabolism, then you probably work hard to maintain your weight through regular exercise. Unfortunately, both body types can still be at risk for normal weight obesity. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that people exercise two to three times per week at a minimum for good health. Whether you have a genetic predisposition to a normal BMI or maintain your weight through regular exercise, struggling to firm up trouble areas like the belly, arms and back-side is not uncommon.
Most adults will lose a half of a pound of muscle each year after the age of 20. So it is no surprise that metabolism slows down in adults as they age. There is good news though. Muscle mass is associated with metabolism. The more muscle one has the greater efficiency they have in burning calories. That is why strength training through resistance exercises burns more calories after a workout than cardio alone. This will help you lose stubborn body fat. Simple resistance training exercises you can do at home or away to improve your strength include dumbells, resistance bands, circuit training, wrist and ankle weights, medicine ball, chin-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and leg lifts. Benefits to strength training by incorporating resistance exercises include:
- lower body fat
- improve heart condition and blood pressure
- increase bone density
- increase metabolic functions and metabolism
- better balance and mobility
- improve BMI and weight loss
- decrease injury
- increase range of activities
No longer can you get by with your same old exercise routine. It is very important that you maintain a balanced exercise program which includes both cardio workouts and strength training by incorporating resistance exercises. This is a key balance to maintaining normal weight and body fat and avoiding normal weight obesity.