When it comes to looking after our health, exercise is a very important part. And it doesn’t matter what size you are! Many of us who are thin may think we don’t need to exercise. But no matter how thin you are everyone has some belly fat. Some of your fat is right under your skin. Other fat is deeper inside, around your heart, lungs, liver, and other organs. It’s that deeper fat — called “visceral” fat — that may be the bigger problem, even for those of us who are thin.

How much of it you have is partly about your genes, and partly about your lifestyle, especially how active you are. That‘s why fitness is so key. Visceral fat likes inactivity! In one study, thin people who watched their diets but didn’t exercise were more likely to have too much visceral fat. The key is to be active, no matter what size you are.

Now this doesn’t mean you have to get rid of visceral fat completely. You need some visceral fat. It provides cushioning around your organs. But if you have too much of it, you may be more likely to get high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and certain cancers, including breast cancer and colon cancer.

Experts say that the fat doesn’t just sit there. It’s an active part of your body, producing lots of toxic substances in your body. If you gain too much weight, your body starts to store your fat in unusual places. Experts also say that with increasing obesity, you have people whose regular areas to store fat are so full that the fat is deposited into the organs and around the heart.

Yikes! This is something you definitely want to avoid! According to the medical website, WebMD, you want your waist size to be less than 35 inches if you’re a woman and less than 40 inches if you’re a man. Having a “pear shape” — bigger hips and thighs — is considered safer than an “apple shape,” which describes a wider waistline.

Nutrition gurus are saying that in comparing the apple versus pear body shape, if you are apple shape you have more abdominal fat, which is probably an indicator that you have more visceral fat. So get a measuring tape, wrap it around your waist at your belly button, and check your girth. Do it while you’re standing up, and make sure the tape measure is level and find out what your measurement is. Then take some steps to reduce it!

And this is where a regular fitness regime really helps. Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days a week is essential. But it doesn’t have to mean going to the gym every time. Walking counts, as long as it’s brisk enough that you work up a sweat and breathe harder, with your heart rate faster than usual. It’s all about being active and burning whatever calories you’re taking in. Whatever isn’t used will just get stored in the body as fat.

Also, vary what you do to keep your regime interesting. Going to different classes, or getting involved in some sporting clubs can make exercising way more fun and you can meet some awesome new people too. It’s always easier to accomplish your goals when you doing it with others and sharing support. Plus, you’ll think twice about missing a session if you have to explain why to 20 other people in the class!