“It’s just a few extra pounds.”

Or is it?

In the 2008 Physician’s Health Study, researchers tracked 21,094 male doctors for two decades. They found that even those who were only modestly overweight had a higher risk for heart disease, and the risk grew along with the amount of extra weight.

The average age of the men at the outset of the study was 53. During the study, 1,109 of them developed heart failure. Overall, the risk of heart failure increased by an average of 180 percent in those who met the definition of obesity as measured by body mass index (with a BMI of 30 or higher), and by an average of 49 percent in those who met the definition of overweight (with a BMI of 25 to 30).

And what about “all those hours” needed for exercise?

Yet another myth busted by the study: “As far as vigorous physical activity is concerned, even if somebody said they exercised one to three times per month – which is a very low level of exercise – they had an 18 percent reduction in the risk of heart failure after accounting for all other established risk factors,” said head researcher Dr. Satish Kenchaiah.

It’s time to get serious about losing that little bit of flab. Long-term studies like this one show how beneficial it can be.

[Ed. Note: Fitness expert Jon Benson’s 7 Minute Muscle program is by far the shortest workout you can do to reap the greatest rewards. Try it for yourself risk-free for 60 days right here.]