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Is lack of exercise a problem if I'm at my ideal weight? – Harvard Health

Is lack of exercise a problem if I'm at my ideal weight? – Harvard Health


Ask the doctors

Q. I don’t need to lose weight, so I don’t exercise very often, but I maintain a healthy diet. Could my lack of exercise lead to health problems?

A. Exercise is essential for good health — even if you’re not overweight. This point is illustrated by a recent study, published March 1 in The American Journal of Cardiology. It found that 30% of normal-weight people who were sedentary had the same risk of heart attack and stroke as people who were overweight. In short, just being at a healthy weight didn’t necessarily ensure that someone was in good health. In addition to having a higher risk of serious cardiovascular events, some inactive but normal weight people were also more likely to have labored breathing during exercise and a larger-than-recommended waist circumference, compared with normal-weight adults who exercised regularly.

— by Hope Ricciotti, M.D., and Toni Golen, M.D.
Editors in Chief, Harvard Women’s Health Watch

Image: © stockvisual/Getty Images

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As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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