Healthy Living: What makes a healthy body?

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, many will spend the unofficial start of summer by the pool or on the beach.

The idea of a “bikini body” or being “swimsuit ready” can be stressful now and throughout the year.

In this week’s Healthy Living, Dr. Christina Doll of WellSpan Health explains why your health isn’t just a reflection in the mirror or the number on a scale.

“This time of year, when people are worried about how they look in their swimwear, we certainly see people focusing on their physical appearance,” Doll said. 

But, she says, you can be a healthy weight and still be unhealthy. 

“The distribution of weight, things like waist circumference, can be really important,” she said.

Doll. says if a man’s waist is bigger than 40 inches or a woman’s waist is bigger than 35 inches, they are at an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. 

Another number to keep in mind is your body mass index or BMI.

“What BMI does is look at your weight compared to your height,” Doll said. “A normal BMI is anywhere between 18 and 25. 25 to 30 is considered overweight and once you’ve crossed 30 you’re in that obese range.”

There is a caveat to BMI though: Doll says it does not consider lean mass. 

“Someone who is very muscular, more dense and particularly someone who is on the shorter side, they might have a high BMI but still be physically fit,” she explains. 

These measurements are also not indicative of your fitness level. 

“You can be thin and certainly still not be in good cardiovascular shape,” Doll said.

According to the American Academy of Family Practice, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise on a weekly basis as well as two strength training sessions.

For children, physicians like to see about 60 minutes of any sort of aerobic activity. 

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