Vast majority of U.S. adults do not meet fitness guidelines

Putting it a little less loosely… “Mitochondria. Either you have 'em…or you’re dead”. And, as it turns out, the way to increase mitochondral density and function is actually “stress”. Most efficient being exercise …energy restriction, cold and a few other stressors to a minor degree…but exercise of the appropriate intensity and duration has those motichondria humming along nicely


Yes it includes exercise. There is stress relief after exercise.

It includes meditation. Watching the nature of your individual emotions and thoughts. Huge stress reduction.

It is not either/or. Neither is better than the other. Both are different. One is more physical other other more individual. Unless you find individual stress relief there is no relief in only physical activity emotionally or in the thought process.

The episode that I subscribed to Peter Attia’s site to hear (and stayed subscribed to for the quality of other guest contributions)…

Zone2 training…best bang for the buck for mitochondrial development, it seems

Yes but short lived.

The effect longer term on relationships, emotions, and the thought process is not altered much. Cellular life depends on those topics as well.

The physical life of the cell depends on more.

Oh, I don’t doubt it…but you were the one who mentioned mitochondria as being important.

I suspect you’ll find that Zone 2 training has all manner of effects in addition to improving mitochondrial function, including…but not limited to… relationships, emotions and thought processes. For sure, it reduces the sympathetic/fight or flight response wonderfully.

However, nothing is so magical that dabbling briefly produces an effect that lasts indefinitely…whether it’s an exercise programme or the latest diet

Yes the additional confidence will do that. Good addition.

But not the same as meditation.

Nice to have one box I can check off.


Don’t give up hope completely. The obesity paradox hasn’t been completely disproved. For example, BMI turns out to be a mediocre measure of weight health as a muscular person with little fat can have the same BMI as a someone with lots of fat. So it is possible to be BMI-overweight but actually have a healthy fat/muscle ratio.

There is also some research suggesting that an overweight BMI can be healthy. This group advocates exercise as being the critical determinant of health and deemphasizes diet. Curiously a lot of this research has been funded by Coca Cola.

Probably just a coincidence.

A sub50 10K is pretty fast for anyone over 60 regardless of feet.

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I think reading your link explains the alleged obesity paradox pretty well, and even suggests an obvious explanation…sloppy science/scientific analysis rather than any true paradox.

Regardless, although it’s possible to be overweight per BMI and have a good body composition, it’s not very likely…especially for women…and, for any one individual, the best way to avoid the skinny fat phenomenon or mitigate the effects of fat fat is appropriate exercise. A reproducible and undeniable reality…which makes the thread subject even more disappointing.

This is the list of various physical activities and energy consumption based on METs (measurement of oxygen consumption) that Wendy mentioned upstream…

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You should probably add some additional resistance exercises to your routine for bone and muscle strength. Apparently it’s very important to do as we age.


I don’t believe this is true. One of the most recent and largest study on issue looked at half a million American adults over a 20 year period. It found that in those >65 years old there was no difference in mortality from all causes in those with BMIs between 22.5 and 34.9 (BMI > 25 is overweight, >30 is obese). A different story for younger adults where the “no difference in mortality range” was between 22.5 and 27.4.

The data by gender is shown here with the higher the point on the Y-axis, the greater the mortality. One can see the infamous U-curve where those with low BMI (<20) and very high BMI (>30) begin to show increased mortality.

I agree. What matters is fitness and the fat/muscle ratio. This is why I wonder about the health benefits of losing weight using drugs without including exercise. GLP-1 drugs will reduce body mass but it won’t improve fitness. If it is the fitness that really matters then the drug-induced weight loss is more cosmetic than healthy.

Summary of paper: High BMI is not associated with higher risk of death, study finds

Paper: Body mass index and all-cause mortality in a 21st century U.S. population: A National Health Interview Survey analysis

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Back in my 1980’s I was often in Hawaii surfing lesser known breaks on the islands of Molokai and Hawaii, and necessarily becoming friends with the locals (or I would not have been tolerated). A lot of those guys were “poi pois”, traditionalist really heavy big guys who ate buckets of mushed up taro root. They were very obese AND muscular. I have remained in touch with one of them, and he is still going strong at age 80, dancing and surfing and throwing his weight around.

Keep Moving!

d fb
(always been a skinny guy)


Doesn’t matter whether you believe or not…you only have to walk around with your eyes open to realize that very few folk sport a slimmish frame with a good ratio of muscle to fat (which is what body composition means) these days. Maybe still a decent number in the 18-25 male demographic but very few otherwise.

I base that statement on close to 20 years living in Massachusetts and more recently in Colorado…not commonly acknowledged as fat states, yet. Very few folk are so blessed genetically that they maintain muscle mass without effort beyond their 30s…and very few folk make that effort. Just like the thread start says.

I have over done that effort for decades.

My old friend is saying go slow and go long.

Meaning over 60 longer walks over the course of a week are worth more than sprinting to breath heavily once or twice a week.

I have no idea. The research can change very few years. He buys in at any cost. This is the flavor of 2024.

I figure myself out these days and that works.

We all have our own standards for deciding what is likely to be true. I think the evidence is pretty good that BMI is a mediocre measure of weight health. More useful is waist to height ratio. The goal is to have one’s waist circumference be less than half one’s height. A six foot person should strive to have a waist size less than 36 inches.

That being said, I agree that most Americans are not fit. What I am suggesting is that a lot of people who are fit wouldn’t be considered so based on BMI.


For sure…as a measure of either health or fitness in an individual…BMI is a mediocre tool. I didn’t suggest otherwise in my statement…which was that relatively few folk with a BMI north of 25 have that “overweight” designation because of robust muscle development and with a low bodyfat %, a.k.a. good body composition. As I’ve mentioned, it’s definitely possible to still find folk like this…even more so in the male, 18-25 age range demographic or in outlier groups (running clubs, competion gyms, TMF finance boards etc)…but not everso likely. Even less likely for women. This is a reality that is hard to refute intelligently no matter how many METs are expended on the task.

It’s a popular opinion, mind, I’ll grant you that…and why wouldn’t it be? Per BMI classification, the majority of Americans are overweight, I’m afraid…and way fatter than just a few points above a BMI of 25, come to that…and probably don’t care to think of themselves as fat.

I suspect I’d want to ignore BMI if I fell into that category, but I sure wouldn’t be able to ignore the excess body fat if I carried that extra chonk. I cannot imagine I would be healthier either.

This is demonstrably incorrect.

The “Obesity Paradox” describes the observation that when weight categories are defined by BMI, those who are classified as overweight have better health outcomes than those with “normal” BMI. However, when other weight classification measures are used, this paradox disappears. This means that BMI is mistakenly classifying a large number of fit people as overweight or even obese. It has to be large for the Obesity Paradox to be observed in so many studies.

It has long been known that Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR) is a far more accurate indicator of one’s health risk due to fat. Divide waist circumference by height, a WHtR>0.5 means a greater risk of disease and mortality. No paradoxes observed.

The overemphasis on BMI is causing a lot of people to consider weight loss drugs who really don’t need to.

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Nope. Not demonstrably incorrect. In order for that to be the case, I would have needed to make statements regarding the relationship between BMI and health outcomes. I did not. Rather I suggested that the number of folk who could claim that their inclusion in the “overweight” category was due to their muscularity rather than overfatness was likely to be relatively small. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Additionally, it’s good to remember…or be aware if one didn’t know in the first place…BMI is not historically designed as a tool to be used on an individual basis. Rather the sort of information to be applied to large numbers for analysis when anthropometric parameters such as height and weight are all that’s available.

It’s all very well to witter on and link dump papers on the “better” measurements of waist circumference…but how many folk routinely have their waist circumference measured during routine physicals? Fewer than the number with higher BMIs due to muscularity, I’d wager.