Fit or Fat

800px-Central_Park_joggingFit or fat is the title of an interesting little book by Covert Bailey, a well-known fitness expert. In it he tells us that we have a choice – to be fit (healthy; able to do physical activities) or to be fat.

If Bailey is right, too many people in the U.S. seem to be making the wrong choice. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that the U.S. has a problem – too many of us are obese, which means having too much fat. Some fat is natural and necessary. But obese people have so much fat that it is not healthy. As a result they have less energy, they get sick more often, and they don’t live as long as people who are fit. The CDC reports that about 35% of U.S. adults and 17% of children are obese.

Eating better can help solve the problem. But, according to Bailey, “the ultimate (main or most important) cure for obesity is exercise.” It’s even more important than what we eat. He explains that obesity goes down as we grow our muscles and increase the muscle enzymes (chemicals that help our bodies work or operate) that burn up the fat. And to do that, we need regular exercise. “The choice is for fitness or fatness,” he writes, “to exercise or not to exercise.”

The question is what kind of exercise and how much. Many experts have said that we need at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week – 30 minutes a day for five days. Aerobic exercise includes activities like jogging (gentle running), running, swimming, cycling, and walking. It’s exercise that is hard enough to make our hearts beat faster, our breathing to get heavier (require more effort), and to cause us to sweat (our skin to become damp or wet). But it’s easy enough to do for a long period of time.

Unfortunately, a recent New York Times article reports that 80% of the people in the U.S. do not get this kind of exercise. Many don’t do it because of the time it requires. As a result, some scientists have been trying to discover if smaller amounts of exercise will provide similar benefits.

The answer seems to be “yes”. This spring, at the annual (yearly) meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, many people who attended the meeting agreed that a few minutes of hard exercise is enough to help people become more healthy or fit, if it’s the right kind of exercise.

One study suggests that 30 seconds of “all-out (as fast as you can) pedaling” of a stationary bicycle “followed by a brief rest, repeated five or six times” led to similar results as 90 to 120 minutes of aerobic bike riding. Other studies seem to show that only “16 to 30 minutes per week…of highly intense (requiring a lot of effort) exercise also improves certain markers (indicators) of health….” High-intensity exercise seems to be effective and takes less time, but it is very hard work.

If you’d like to see an example of a seven-minute high-intensity workout you can do at home without any special equipment, check out (look at) this article from The New York Times Magazine.

One of the scientists said that high-intensity exercise “may not be the ideal (best) form of exercise for everyone. And we have a lot more science (research) to do.” But he added, “I’m 45, with a family, and very busy. So…this is how I work out (exercise) now.”

I prefer aerobic exercise, partly because I enjoy it. I ride bike for 30 minutes four or five days a week and for about two hours on Saturday or Sunday. Do you exercise regularly? Which would you prefer – aerobic or high-intensity exercise?

~ Warren Ediger – English coach/tutor and creator of Successful English, where you can find clear explanations and practical suggestions for better English.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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21 Responses to Fit or Fat

  1. iMan says:

    The book carries a wonderful rhythmic title that conveys the message of being always in a good shape which brought me here at ESLPod. Actually I first came across this peice of writing on FB. Thank you for keeping us posted. You guys are truely deserved to be called unstoppable and productive. I would merely be satisfied when I create an English atmosphire with the sense of having confidence. Have a nice summer time. FB/IMNHMD

  2. Henrique says:

    Whoooa great article Teacher Warren.

    So, I was obese, no more in the last year. I started walking and after I feel more adpted to it I began to jogging and after running.
    It justo took me one year, this month is the anniversary of my new life! I lose almost 20 kg and earned a better life. Better sleep, more energy, more mood and so forth.

    I strongly recommend to all here on the ESl pod to go out and do some work out. It’s good for healthy and social life.

    One important thing to say is that doing this activite my life changing in the way that I feel it was just the begining of others good things I can do, like learning English.
    (As you can see, I’m in the begining, so not good English, but I know that like I began only walking and after a while I was able to run, my English will be better in the same way)

    Thanks all. Bye for now.

  3. Peter says:

    Hi my dear Professor Warren

    Interesting topic . But , it is surreal , isn’t it ?:))

    All the exercise talk feels more and more like a far-fetch fantasy in the current spiraling pace that our heavy high-tech world is in tune to. In simpler words , a regularly routined physical exercise is the luxury that most of us don’t have as the technology that we are all tied up with demands us to keep up its pace not ours.

    Sadly , The default tendency of human being to laziness ,sedentary activities if you will , has compounded the worldwide ripple effect of the technology dependency that seemingly men can not live without.
    I guess It is safe to say ,that we are living in the tech age with just one and only one front which is the technology itself. And, It is subtlety remodeling our minds ,and dictating our life styles. What is the last time you found yourself in a tech-less capacity. Think hard you may remember. Well , that is what I thought “none”. Even in the most secluded areas we still carry our cellphones , the threshold rather gate to the virtual world we have become so familiar with. We play games for hours , write comments for minutes:)) , check face book and other on line social websites like million times a day. We spend all the otherwise productive time on the internet that prompts nothing but all forms of vascular disease:) and all other forms of disease caused by the inactive life style.

    My good man warren , the problem with obesity is not rooted in the time we think we don’t have , but in the technology we spend the time on .
    I say , Cut down the time on fattening tech-related activities 🙂

    I say, get off our and move some muscles.

    I say, Be a tech snob not a tech junky

    Believe you me , the problem is not the big Mc combo , but , the technology :))

    I m the one to talk :)) I have spent a good ,mind boggling 15 minutes to write sth here instead of the intense exercise the post encouraging.

    Check the irony guys here.
    Warren’s blog post promoting some exercise whereas the nature of the post requires us to sit and write comments not jug and write :))))

    Unless , you are some exceptionally multi tasking individual.

    Ok , guys it is time to play the game I uploaded just last night on my iphone. Guys , it is just 99 cents . I would buy it;)
    Looks who was rambling on and on about the invasion of technology to our house and our world at large. 🙂

    Game time 🙂

    Ta Ta 🙂

  4. Dan says:

    Hello everyone, thanks Warren.

    I do not know anything about obesity. Personally I am slightly underweight being 5’10” I weight 68 kg (150 pounds).

    I do not even have a universal recipe or tips for anyone. I just do what I think is good for myself. Maybe getting it wrong.

    Sure is, today we have at our disposal so much information that is hard to say “I did not know it”.

    What strikes me the most are smokers. With all that has been said about the consequences of smoking, I still see so many people with that BAD habit.

    Perhaps because I have no addictions and is easy for me to stop something cold turkey, like I did with coffee and booze a couple of years ago. And meat too.

    Well, I must confess a sin of mine actually, lately I have been developing an addiction to visiting ESLPOD’s blog.

    Like Warren, I prefer aerobic exercise.

    Thank you all

  5. Dan says:

    Hi Betty,

    How is it going with your -middle age spread- Did you menage to ping pong it away?
    See! I remember that. hehehe


  6. Wang says:

    Yes, Warren, I do exercises here too. I try to keep a routine of jogging 3 times a week for about one and a half hour (5-6 miles)

    And to make me don’t feel boring with exercise which is, like you mentioned above, to push my heart beats faster a bit and therefore

    I can keep my life shying away from a stroke later on, I switch back and forth between jogging, pull-up and swimming… there was another

    reason, once I read on an article, why I have to change my work out frequently. If just go jogging for a long time and too much (especially for running), I’m gonna hurt my knees

    down the road. why? as far as I remember, there is a kind of lube inside the joints, the cartilage and it will run out when you are getting old, so what

    I’m trying to do over here is to built up habitual options, then I can choose hereafter. But that theory is still a debating matter. Some recent studies pointed out the opposite is true, that

    running is to help your body produce proteins those are in needs for your cartilage and you just need to shift away from running when there is a member in your family has osteoarthritis.

  7. Parviz says:

    Hi every body,
    Thank you Dear professor Warren, it was reminding.
    When I read your post, I didn’t think twice. As soon as I Finished reading, I summoned some friends over and suggested them to go hiking.
    That is why I didn’t have time to write in something here.
    It was a good experience, And as far as I remember you had a similar post one year or two ago on the importance of an strenuous activity.
    But, I don’t know why we human let things slip our mind.
    Sadly enough We all know and suggest to other people to exercise, when I comes to act on it we all break loose.
    I can give you a dozen of references about benefits of jugging, swimming,… But hardly remember myself to have been following the drills.
    Thank you warren, you saved my day.

  8. Parviz says:

    Hi Dan,
    I am sorry to break it to you. I have always thought of you as being plump and a slightly bald, and short, and more importantly sweet :).
    This is the picture of you in my mind, and I got that picture from reading your posts now and then.
    I am so sorry if I burst your bubbles. I always thought you’d love a sedentary life like I do.
    Now I know that I committed a terrible error in judgement.
    Genetically, I am that kind of person who never gets obese. I’m content with that because I can feed on sweets as much as I can, never being worry about adding an ounce.
    I have an aversion to obesity, you know, here we usually pool taxi when commute to work/home back and forth. Some times there are some overweight people try to squeeze into the taxi.
    I seldom have time to spare on exercise, but every other day I’d walk to work. I walk I little bit faster than usual which makes me breath fast.
    That is my entire of exercise activity.
    My fingers, however, are exercising all the time. I am always writing something on my computer. whether for the eslpodcast or emailing my students. So, they are thin and extended. 🙂
    Thank you,

  9. Parviz says:

    pool taxi= Carpool, we share Taxi together, which costs less money than if we travel alone.

  10. Lassana says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for this interesting topic which is a current problem.

    In our modern societies things go too fast. we must take more time to take care to us.

    I think that to be healthy, we need to feed better and do sport. These two points are the most important if we would like have a healthy lifestyle.

    Besides that can reduce diseases risk such as cancer or another.

    Personnaly I’m lucky to have a canteen in my company where I can eat cheap an important variety of foods. The week end we’re also tryin to eat well in home.

    My problem is the sport. Regardless of food I’m aware I have also to do sport. I did it until I had a child and now it’s difficult to retake sport. Before I made running and bodybuilding.

    Now I have to find the motivation quickly because time goes fast and it’s been already 3 years I do nothing. Currently I’m interested in swimming pool I think I’

  11. iMan says:

    I think the current trends in our society are bringing about a sedentary lifestyle. We need to get people to be more conscious of the consequences of this devastating phenomenon. I hope the idea of getting some regular exercise ever day will catch on among all ageing population.
    Moreover I was really stunned by the decent vocabulary and grammatical forms used by the users on this page. Have they all picked up these nice words by just listening to ESLPod? If that so, good for ESLPod’s staff!!!

  12. Parviz says:

    Hi iMan
    This is to welcome here to eslpodcast blog.
    I can’t remember exactly when I started listening eslpodcast materials and writing in this blog, but I do know that my English was very pathetic.
    I listening to Jeff and Lucy and writing a couple of time on their blog will make all the difference in your English, certainly it did in mine.
    Jeff and Lucy’s voice are lovely and their dialogs are memorable. Plus they use common language spoken by people in the USA, both formal and casual.
    I remember when I started writing here I was a junior writer, less confident, moreover, I knew much less vocabulary and definitions than today. I am not saying this to brag, instead I want say on to you that this is the place where you can find Mastery and the Master all in one.
    I hope you enjoy learning English as much as I do.

  13. iMan says:

    Sounds like a Persian name! Anyway, thank you for your reply, Mr. Parviz. I also congratulate on the victory of Iran’s Volleyball over Italy. It was breathtaking match.

  14. iMan says:

    Sorry, I did spot a typo in my preceding comment. Even though it’s a tiny mistake, but I shoud’ve said “It was A breathtaking match.” Don’t worry about making mistakes while you’re determined to learn a new language. And that’s the point. Believe it or not, you obviously learn by making mistakes over and over until your language becomes flawless. Enjoy learning English.

  15. Betty says:

    Dear Warren

    I would like to thank you for this informative article.

    Even Dan remember me Betty saying I needed to exercise to shake off my “Middle-age Spread”.

    In fact my Middle-age Spread has arrived late.

    I am a lot older than my middle-age friends, but I noticed the “love handlers” (spare tire) only recently.

    I personally prefer to stay slim because it makes life easier if I am slimmer.

    In Hong Kong, if you are not slim, you will struggle to live a normal life.

    The lift that takes us from ground floor of our building to where I live which is 20th floor says it can take up to 9 persons.

    Occasionally there was 6 people in the lift and everyone have to stand up so straight in order to keep their hands off the next person. It was simply so tight in there even when it is carrying 66% of its stated capacity.

    If you travel by MTR (subway in the US), you better not to take a seat if you are not slim. The seats only consider slim people travelling.

    After reading this “Fit or Fat” article, I searched the web and I found a lot of discussions about “Fat and Fit”.

    I appreciate you may not agree with Covert Bailey that people must choose “fit” or “fat” because you say “If Bailey is right, ……..”

    You understand Bailey’s point of view that people need to exercise to be fit, but you note the fact that people do not seem to have time to exercise.

    There are a lot of argument that people can be fat and fit.

    Many fat people exercise a lot more than thin people. They simply remain fat and fabulous.

    I was very thin as a little child (a true Ugly Duckling).

    Now although my body mass index (BMI) is higher than optimum, I am living a very active life and I don’t worry at all.

    Warren I enjoy reading your articles and I hope one day I can write like you. I also hope to ride a bike so many hours a day like you, very soon.

    Many thanks again.

    Best Regards

    Betty 🙂

  16. Betty says:

    Oops, I am sorry I have made a serious mistake in my comment above.

    “….. but I noticed the “love handlers” (spare tire) only recently”.

    Should read as “….. but I noticed the “love handles” (spare tire) only recently”.

    Sorry about that!

    Betty 🙂

  17. emiliano says:

    Fit? I don´t know if I am fit but what I know it is that neve in all my life I have been fat or have overweight.
    By the contrary I have been always a slender person.
    When I got married with 25 years old my weight was 62 / 63 kg., with a height of 1,76 cm. so I was really
    After several years my weight have been about 70 more or less.
    Last year I was really thin, very very thin, unhealthy thin with 60 kg. only.
    Now after eating a lot, good meals cook by our Peruvian Isabel, a nice cook. I am again in 73/4, so it is a
    nice way of being slender.

    Along these eight day in London I have walked for hours. I was up from bed about 6,30 a.m., and started to
    see the City till seven or eight p.m., may be doing several km. along all day.

    So fit, I don´t know, as the only sport I like to practice is swiming. The house wwhere we a living has a
    swiming pool and I like to go down in summer and swim.
    I have swam all my life since being a child and it likes me very very much.

    Footing, running ? Never I have done that, being slender I have felt myself agile, I have never have somle and
    now I don´t dring anything than wáter, only wáter and not to much food.
    Fruit, vegetables, fish, and very few meat. That´s all friends.


    He dear Betty, Dan, Tania, Parviz and all the other friends (sorry I can´t mention all of you that are inside my
    heart) emiliano is again in Madrid. At home, really happy of having doing his trip to London.
    He like London absolutely.

    My best to all of you.


  18. Betty says:

    Dear Emiliano

    Welcome Back!

    I am very happy to hear that you like London. The main attractions in London are truly attractive.

    Since you are very good at taking pictures and appreciating art and music, London is the best place for you to explore.

    All I want to do is to congratulate you in fulfilling your dream of going to an English speaking country to practice your English speaking skill.

    I have read your London experience in the weekly announcement page and I am very proud of you.

    In the old days, we say all Chinese must visit Beijing in China at least once in their life. I still haven’t visited Beijing yet. Perhaps I should take a leaf out of your book and go to visit Beijing to see The Great Wall of China.

    People say that the steps of Great Wall are very big. I was sad to hear it because I was afraid I would never be able to climb the steps due to my short and sapless legs.

    Look forward to reading more and more from you again soon.

    Best Regards

    Betty 🙂

  19. Parviz says:

    Hi emiliano
    welcome back to esl blog.
    How have you been?
    Thanks for god you are back safely again here. I missed you man. for 8 days no one has done lengthy posts.
    I am glad you had a blast there.
    I haven’t been in london. But here is a book ”England” by British writer John Escott, that describes everything interesting about London.
    for example, He tells us about London and other cities of England, The food, Days out, nights out.
    Unfortunately, I don’t have access to your personal blog. May be you can share your memories here.
    I am looking forward to hearing more about your trip.
    sincerely yours,

  20. emiliano says:

    Betty, Parviz , thanks so much.
    Yes, I could write a little short book about my eight days alone in London. It has been interesting in all aspects of
    Being alone in a different place by yourself make the person bigger, talking other language with such a lot of
    people as Taxists, Bus divers, people who travel by the underground, city policemant to ask for information,
    people walking by the streets to ask also about some Street or place have been a pleasure.
    Sitting several times on a bech in Hyde Park has been like living in a movie, I have talked with persons from
    some countries ove the world, a Swiden pilot of comercial plains from Stockholm to London, we were talking
    in English for half an houre, but I could repeat the experience with a scrip writer of movies that was born in
    Austria, but lives in London every year for three of four months. Even also with English persons, Young or
    old it doesn´t matter. The last day I was taling with a person of Arabia Saudi, he was with his wife and three
    children. He asked about Spain and the cities he and his family could visit and was really quite interesting.

    From the begining with the plain in bad conditions when it touch land, an hour inside it waiting to be pulled,
    till the end all has been nice and I lived it as a great lesson about life and people.

    To me London could be the best city I have been along my life and of course I have in mind to return again
    as soon as possible.

    To be continued……

    All my best dear Blog´s friends.


  21. emiliano says:

    Something about English people….first

    There is a topic in my country that says English are cold people, they don´t feel the same way that Latinos, from people from the south and so forth.

    To me that´s not true. As always topics are not real.
    Always I have thought that´s was not true, and have some ocasions here in Spain of seeing it, it is onely that usualy they don´t speak Spanish, and
    Spaniards don´t speak a good English. So comunication among people from both countries it is difficult.

    Same years ago we, my wife Cuca and me, were living in Torrevieja (Alicante) for more tan four yearrs. In winter time the condominium was empty a
    s this buildings of apartments are built to live in summer, to go to the beach, to take the sun and to be out home all day because people use
    these houses on hollidays.

    Inside the house, with more the thirty apartmentes, there were only two flats occupied. One were Cuca and me lived and other in the same floor
    with a couple of English people with their dog which name was “Fin”. Nat and Eyleen were their names. They don´t speak a single word in Spanish
    so it was me who has to star to speak with them.

    I invited them to our flat and talked with them in English, also translate into Spanish what Cuca had to say them and so forth.

    After some weeks our visits were like a rule, they came home and started to learnt some Spanish.
    Eyleen was very interested in learning Spanish as they were going to live near the sea in Alicante.
    They have bough a chalet in the coast and as they were retired they wanted to live in Spain for long.

    After a year of being in touch Eyleen and her husband Nat were like our family in Torrevieja, we were in this town because we
    have not a house in Madrid city for three or four years. The flat was been built and we have to live on the Alicante´s coast. Torrevieja city in fact.

    After two years Nat, Eyleen´s husband died and it was very very sorry for Cuca and me. Eyleen was alone, sad but absolutely strong, she was
    coming to see us twice a week from her new house out from Torrevieja.

    She loves Cuca and Cuca loves Eyleen.

    Cuca was her spanish teacher, and I was the one who solved all their mistakes with both languages.

    So English people cold? NO.

    Not for me at least, only it is necesary to speak their languager or them need to speak Spanish to be in touche and be more friendly.

    It is true that old English people don´t make the effort of leaning other languages. Spanish, French or German, as they think English is spoken
    for all over the world and all people speak their language.
    But new generations of English do learn Spanish or other different languages.

    So, if you don´t speak English with them it is impossible to be in touch friendly. But they are not cold, they are similar to other
    people from different countries.

    By the way the other close friends in Torrevieja were Maria a Greek woman who was married with a Spanish man Fidel.

    They were also spending long periods of time at the lonely house in winter time, so we were also in close friendship for months and years.
    Maria the Greek woman was absolutely good friend and good person by all means, the same a Fidel her Spanish husband.

    After coming back to Madrid, we have been in touch with Eyleen and Maria by phone, we remember each other a lot.

    Cuca and me miss our friends a lot. We miss Eyleen our English nice woman friends a lot. She was wich ever thing you can imagine, funny, warm, friendly, loving person, but cold?. Nothing more far from reality.

    My best dear Eyleen – Nat, Maria – Fidel, we remember you so much after seven years of not seeing
    Life is so.

    (here it is a nice phot of my Cat Gatufo so sorry and sand without Emiliano)

    The gatufo a good friend at home that miss sme o much in my
    recent trip to London.
    Poor cat he couldn´t understan why Emiliano was not close
    to him along eight days.


    from my blog desembuches gatufo of today´s morning… be continued

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