5 Reasons To Maintain A Healthy Weight

Whether you’re 25 or 85, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is sure to add quality to your life. Part of understanding what a healthy weight is involves knowing how to calculate your BMI, or Body Mass Index. In general, men and women with BMIs ranging from 18.5 to 24.9 are considered to be of normal weight. Under 18.5 is considered underweight, between 25 and 29.9 is overweight, 30 to 40 is obese, and over 40 is morbidly obese.

Here are five sound reasons to maintain a healthy weight.

1. Your heart will thank you

It’s the hardest working muscle in your body. If you’re lucky enough to reach your 80th birthday, that means your heart will have beaten about 3,363,840,000 times. Consider this: As easy as it is to blow up a beach ball, imagine how much more difficult it would be if you stacked a few books on top of it before trying to inflate it. You would be out of breath, your cheeks might hurt and you might even get a little lightheaded. Carrying around extra weight — even as little as five pounds — puts more strain on your heart and over time, causes it to wear out faster.

2. You’ll sleep better

The body regenerates when you sleep, especially when you reach deep sleep. If you’re overweight, it’s harder for your lungs to expand fully because excess fat is in the way. This can lead to breathing problems and irregularities, such as snoring and sleep apnea, and works to lessen the quality of restorative sleep. Additionally, when you’re tired, your senses are dulled which could lead to accidents and mishaps that you likely wouldn’t experience if you were fully rested.

3. You’ll lower your risk of developing osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis comes from wear and tear on your joints. For every 10 pounds of extra weight on your frame, it’s equal to 40 extra pounds of pressure on your spine. This additional stress can cause disc ruptures, sciatica (nerve) pain, and muscle spasms.

4. You’ll lower your risk of strokes

As with the “girdle” effect that too much weight puts on your lungs, it also affects your blood flow by constricting blood vessels. Maintaining your ideal weight and keeping a regular exercise routine will help keep your blood flowing smoothly.

5. You’ll enjoy increased energy levels and a healthy immune system

Added weight literally drags you down, as if you’re carrying a heavy sack of potatoes while you walk, work, sleep and even eat. You don’t breath as deeply which, in turn, robs your body of healing oxygen. The more energy you have, the more you’ll want to get off the couch and exercise or participate in other fun activities. And the more fit you become, the more healthy your immune system.

Reaching your ideal weight doesn’t have to be an overwhelming goal. Take small steps toward an overall healthy lifestyle, such as cutting down on your calories and reducing your alcohol consumption. If you haven’t worked out in awhile, ease into activity slowly. Trying to do a vigorous workout when you’re out of practice could do your body more harm than good. Go on a bike ride a few times a week or play basketball with some friends at the park. Little steps can lead to big leaps and increased well-being, vitality, health and longevity.