Many people automatically equate being slender with being in good shape and healthy. But there’s more to good health than what you look like on the outside, especially if you were born slim rather than being someone who worked toward that goal.

A recently discovered “thin gene,” which predisposes individuals to be genetically svelter than others, has just been linked to higher instances of heart disease and diabetes – symptoms typically associated with being overweight. According to the study, published in Nature Genetics in June, it all has to do with how fat is stored rather than how it’s perceived. Although carriers of this gene don’t store fat in such a way that it shows from the outside, the same fats that are ingested can actually instead be kept in the body around the organs, which is much more dangerous to a person’s health.

To protect your body and stay heart smart, you should work out on a regular basis in addition to maintaining a balanced diet – regardless of what you look like. It also helps to reduce drinking and eliminate smoking from your lifestyle habits, which can also impede your cardiology health. Aerobic exercise – constant motion, like a boot camp class or walking on a treadmill, rather than lifting weights – is particularly good for lowering blood pressure and strengthening your heart.

Most of us aspire to be healthy, but we all define this goal in different ways. For some, this means seeing the doctor every six months, while for others it means hitting the Greenville gym three times a week. For some it means not smoking, while for others it means an organic diet. So how can we know if we are being healthy or when we’ve achieved this elusive goal of “good health”?


The USDA does not currently restrict the word “healthy” when it’s applied to food labels, which is one confusing aspect of eating right. This can refer to calories, fat, sodium or well-rounded, vitamin-rich ingredients—just to name a few. New guidelines published in January have recommended basic rules for eating healthy. Specific emphasis was placed on lowering sodium—especially in frozen, canned and preserved foods—and always aiming for fewer than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day.

When it comes to exercise, setting goals is a very personal matter. How much or how often you should work out depends on your body type, activity levels, health and schedule. There aren’t specific guidelines regarding how muscular a person should be, but there are regulations regarding weight according to height and size. The Body Mass Index is a general, objective tool that can tell you if you’re proportionally healthy.


For all other health concerns, it’s important to regularly visit your doctors. Typically, individuals see their general health practitioner every 6-12 months. They may visit the dentist every quarter-year, half-year or—in rare cases—once per year. Specialized visits, from cancer screenings to chiropractic visits, vary by person—but it’s always important, especially as you get older, to stay on top of any dramatic changes in your health and speak with professionals about how long you should go between doctors’ appointments.

The most important thing when it comes to being “healthy” is to know that there is no one-size-fits-all definition. Typically, you want to increase your lifespan while improving your quality of life. But striving for impossible goals can be detrimental to your health and morale. Following the latest health news is the best way to know about nationwide developments. You should consult with experts—from doctors to your personal trainer or nutritionists—to be sure you are taking active measures stay healthy.

Please never hesitate to ask the professionals at your local Pivotal Fitness Greenville gym how we can help you target and meet all of your health goals. Check back next week for a more expansive look at the USDA’s recently published dietary guidelines for healthy Americans.