How can one tell if one is healthy? It all depends on who you ask. Lab results such as cholesterol, blood sugar, and the like can be used by a doctor to gauge a patient’s health. Your body fat percentage may be the best measure of your health, according to a personal trainer. You may go by the number on the scale or the way your clothes fit.
I’m a firm believer in keeping a close eye on all of the above and more. As though it were an enormous task, it really just takes a few minutes to do each one, requires low-cost equipment, or may be incorporated into a routine doctor’s visit. “The Big Ten Health and Fitness Measures” are what I call them.
Body Mass Index (BMI) (Body Mass Index)
Measurements of Body Composition
Resting and achieving a goal heart rate are two different things.
Fitness for the heart and lungs
Level of vitality and pulse rate
Glucose and triglycerides
Why bother keeping track of so many things? Because there isn’t a single good definition of what constitutes health or fitness. A healthy weight, for example, does not guarantee the absence of elevated cholesterol. As a side note, using only one strategy can be depressing. Despite the fact that you may not have dropped any weight in a particular week, you could still have shed inches.
Keeping track of a variety of health and fitness metrics gives you a complete picture of who you are as a whole. Isn’t it true that we don’t hold our students to a single standard in school? Even if a child struggles in math, it doesn’t rule out success in other areas. Just because you have not dropped weight on the scale does not indicate that your waist is not becoming smaller.
Another cliché that we’ve all probably heard is that “definition is 95% of the solution.” Your target weight, body fat, and BMI can allow you to identify the areas in which to focus your efforts. In order to avoid unforeseen complications, it is important to have accurate information at hand. People with healthy cholesterol levels don’t need to follow an extremely low-fat diet.
Finally, it acts as a reminder of how far you’ve come. It’s understandable if you get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results from your efforts. To see your improvement in black and white, it helps to keep track of a range of fitness metrics.