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.