fitness resolution workplace wellness

Resolution Reminder: Study Shows Fitness Benefits, Regardless of Starting Weight

As we end the third week of the New Year, it’s time for a “resolution reminder”… and some incentive not only to start (or continue) your fitness activities, but also to remind why a well-run workplace wellness program includes a fitness focus.

Earlier this month, we noted that the American College of Sports Medicine released its “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends 2018,” which, for the 12th straight year, allows readers to “apply and use worldwide trends in the commercial, corporate, clinical (including medical fitness), and community health fitness industry.”

Some of those key fitness trends might be particularly relevant for workplace wellness programs. As Interactive Health notes, companies faced $555 billion in direct and indirect costs from cardiovascular disease and stroke, including lost productivity. And that number is growing. Interactive Health reports that $1.1 trillion is the 2035 projected annual direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

New Report

Now a new report offers important incentive to start or maintain a fitness program. As MedPage Today reports: “Regardless of weight, inactivity may be a precursor to metabolic syndrome.”

The Mayo Clinic describes metabolic syndrome as “a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”

It continues: “Having just one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome. However, any of these conditions increase your risk of serious disease. Having more than one of these might increase your risk even more.”

And importantly: “If you have metabolic syndrome or any of its components, aggressive lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.”

The study, published in PLOS, is titled Low fitness is associated with abdominal adiposity and low-grade inflammation independent of BMI. Among the results:

  • “We found a strong inverse association between fitness and waist circumference in both men and women adjusted for age, education, smoking self-rated health, alcohol consumption and most importantly BMI. Thus, the association was present in normal weight individuals as well as in overweight and obese individuals.”
  • “We found a positive association between waist circumference and hsCRP in both men and women in all BMI categories.
  • “We found an inverse association between hsCRP and fitness independent of BMI in both genders, showing that no matter BMI, if fitness levels were high then levels of low-grade inflammation were negligible.”

Or, as MedPage Today states: “Exercise Key for Staving Off Metabolic Syndrome — Benefits of physical activity seen across BMI levels.”

The authors conclude: “Based on the overall results of the current study, we conclude that high fitness levels are inversely associated with the amount of visceral fat and the level of chronic systemic low-grade inflammation regardless of BMI.”

A focus on fitness remains a key component of a well-run workplace program. This study also offers incentive to focus on those resolutions — it’s not too late.