New Study: Don’t Measure Health by Pounds.

Scales are overrated.

When it comes to creating a healthier lifestyle, many people turn to the almighty scale as a way of measuring their progress.

A new study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found that people who improve or maintain their fitness levels reduce their risk of mortality, regardless of changes in their weight. In other words, the scale isn’t a good indicator of improvements in the body’s health.

The study involved 14,345 adult men and concluded that improved fitness levels are associated with longevity – even after controlling Body Mass Index (BMI) changes. BMI is an index used to classify individuals as underweight, overweight, etc.

Indeed, thin isn’t a necessarily good indicator of health. You’ve probably heard the term skinny-fat used to describe individuals who are thin – but totally unhealthy. These individuals, despite being skinny, often have poor diets and sedentary lifestyles. According to this new study, it’s healthier to be overweight and fit than skinny and unfit.

All of this considered, scales are one of the poorest measures of health progress. For a lot of people, getting healthier means building muscle and shedding fat; this can result in a net gain of body weight due to the density of muscle mass. In these instances, a tape measure is a better indicator (i.e., shrinking waistline and expanding muscles). I also encourage clients to think outside the scale and pay attention to the more subtle indicators – like no longer being winded when climbing the stairs. Or clothes fitting differently. These clues are more accurate than the scale alone.

The bottom line: While losing weight is an important goal, know that weight isn’t necessarily the best indicator of your body’s improved health. And even if you struggle to drop the pounds, know that your body is still reaping the benefits of a more active lifestyle.

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About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. WereGrouch says:

    Tell that to my doctor. All I ever hear is “Lose more Weight!” Never mind that I went from unable to run a quarter mile to finishing a 50K race, in one year. Never mind that I lost several inches of body fat (yay skinny clothes). Never mind that I’m now stronger than I was as a teen. Never mind that I no longer suffer from allergies, asthma or migraines. Just “lose more weight.” You should go to med school and become a doctor, Davey.

  2. christopher says:

    i tried this-i think both measure and weigh works-at least for me.