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We are aware that maintaining optimum weight holds the key to a healthy long life, taking into consideration the health implications of obesity. It seems surprising but scientists from the University of South Carolina have disclosed that enhancing fitness levels is apparently linked to longer life span irrespective of weight fluctuations or stagnancy.

This findings asserted that people engaging in physical activities but who are not able to shed those pounds, could also enjoy the fruits of long life. About 14,345 adult men coming from well-to-do backgrounds participated in the analysis.

Lee, a physical activity epidemiologist in the Arnold School’s Department of Exercise Science, quoted, “This is good news for people who are physically active but can’t seem to lose weight. You may worry less about your weight as long as you continue to maintain or increase your fitness levels.”

The results showed that sustaining and improving fitness levels was supposedly related to fewer chances of mortality in spite of controlling for variables like BMI. As the fitness threshold increased by 1 unit according to MET, almost more than 6 years of life seemed to be correlated to lesser risk of experiencing death from strokes or heart diseases or due to other reasons.

The study highlighted that physical inactivity may be a major risk factor for mortality from heart disease and stroke. However, death did not appear to result from changes in body mass. The subjects with median age 44 were a part of the extensive Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study.

The individuals were exposed to 2 detailed medical tests, where maximal treadmill trials were accessed to gauge their physical fitness and BMI. The fluctuations in weight and physical fitness were measured for a span of 6 years. After the 11-year follow-up period, death risks were gauged for people who improved, sustained or lost their fitness levels. Other factors like smoking, heart disease history, initial fitness level and so on were also accounted for.

The revelation suggested that the men were either normal weight or overweight when the trial kiskstarted. However, amidst obese people, BMI changes may have a prominent impact on mortality risks. Therefore, the possibility of these results holding good for severely obese individuals and those from other social backgrounds was not clear, the team concluded. They believed that women were likely to show similar outcomes.

The study is published in the journal, Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.