Taking measurements of various aspects of your health allow you to get an idea of how healthy you are relative to both the general population, but also to those “freaky” people who we all grew up with who were naturally athletic and the cause of envy to the rest of us. There is a tone of science out there to tell us how healthy we should be, and yet the science isn’t always perfect, and averages don’t always tell you what is best for you individually.
So why bother testing if the science might be “imperfect”? Well, when you feel healthy and athletic, you rarely bother with measurements because you just KNOW you’re too damned sexy. For the rest of us who have led inactive lifestyles and who are trying to deal with excess weight, we measure so that we can set realistic and achievable weight loss, health, and fitness goals, and because using the existing science provides us with goals which we can aim for.
These are the simplest measurements that you can take, from which you can compare or calculate values to help you to determine how healthy the science says you are.
- Resting Heart Rate
- Body Fat Percentage
Observations & Calculations:
One you’ve taken a few basic measurements, you can either whip out your trusty calculator and work out some additional health values, or you can search for an on-line calculator to do it all for you.
- Body Mass Index
- Waist to Hip Ratio
- Waist to Height Ratio
- Body Fat Percentage Estimate
While the changes on the outside of the body will guide you, sometimes it can be good to understand what is also happening on the inside of your body. If your diet has been mostly made up of take away, processed, sugar and grain based foods, soft drinks, juice boxes, energy drinks, pre-packaged snacks, and those so-called “health” bars, then you’ve basically been fueling your body with junk. Just the same as poor quality petrols will eventually clog up the injectors of your car, so too will your body’s internal systems start to become inefficient. With a few simple blood tests, you can start to build a picture of the damage that bad foods are doing to your body. Some of the more common tests are as follows:
- Blood Sugar
- Cholesterol (LDL & HDL)
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
Blood tests need only be done on the odd occasion, however it would make sense to have some of these tests done at the beginning of your health & fitness journey, and then every 3 to 6 months or whatever your doctor recommends based on the results of your initial tests. If you’re unsure what to test for, chat with your doctor and ask for some blood tests that you can use for comparison in the future to see if your diet and exercise has been improving your health… or even if you need to do anything at all. 😛