A few weeks ago I wrote a blog on numbers to track, other than the scale, to show progress in your health and fitness journey. Today’s blog is going to be about numbers to track and mobility measurements that correlate to “health”.
Having 6 pack abs or being able to lift extremely heavy weights doesn't mean it's the equivalent to a healthy body.
I’m going to give you 3 things to track that you can assess on your own, without having to go to the doctor, that “normally” equal a healthy body. (obviously, there will be outliers).
The first thing to track is your resting heart rate.
What is a resting heart rate and how do you track it??
Your resting heart rate, or pulse, is the number of times your heart beats per minute while your body is at rest. This can be a great indicator of heart health and can, also, be a good tool that can help you spot potential developing health problems.
The best time to check your resting heart rate is first thing in the morning (try doing it 3-5 days in a row to find the average). To measure your heart rate, simply check your pulse. Place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery, which is located on the thumb side of your wrist. When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to calculate your beats per minute. (You can, also, count for a full minute if you prefer that).
A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute (the higher end, closer to 90-100, however, could raise a concern).
Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. For example, a well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats per minute.
There are other factors that can affect your resting heart rate such as stress, age, smoking, medication, body positioning, body temperature (which is why we stress the importance of getting good sleep and monitoring stress levels). By tracking this number, you can monitor your heart health and your fitness.
Number Two, your body composition, or your body's breakdown of fat vs nonfat mass in your body (muscle, water, bones, and organs).
Have you ever heard the term “skinny-fat”? Just because someone may appear petite, doesn’t mean they are healthy. They could be holding onto a high level of body fat and might be extremely unhealthy.
This goes both ways, however, extremely low body fat can also cause health concerns and hormone issues, equally an unhealthy individual.
How do we measure body composition?
At Aerial, we have a fancy In-Body scale that gives you a bioelectrical impedance analysis, meaning it sends an imperceptible current through your body. This analysis gives you a reading of your body’s breakdown based on the electricity that your muscle, fat, bone, and water conduct (they all conduct at different rates, giving you a reading).
Healthy body fat ranges depend on your current age and gender. Females need a higher level of body fat for normal hormonal function and to bear children.
Essential fat: 10-13%
Essential fat: 2-5%
** Based off of the American Council on Exercise (ACE)
Last thing to track would be your mobility and a good way to measure this is by analyzing your ability to overhead squat with a full range of motion (no weight, PVC pipe only). Why is this a good indicator of health? It shows your body’s mobility at almost every joint; shoulders, back, hips, knees, and ankles.
In order to live a long healthy life into you 80s and 90s, you have to be able to sit down on a toilet and get yourself back up, you need to be able to put the cereal back into an overhead cabinet, you need to be able to bend down and pick something off of the floor, you ever need to be able to get yourself off of the floor (should you fall).
This is why we stress the importance of working on your mobility and hitting FULL ranges of motion. A typical couch/toilet seat is made below parallel for the average adult.
When you want to pick something up off of the floor (safely) you need to be able to hinge to a full range of motion at the hips.
When you sit up in your bed or get off of the floor, you need to be able to sit all the way up. This, also, correlates to playing with your kids, being able to throw them up over your head. It could correlate to getting out of a lake or pool back onto the deck (similar to dips/muscles ups).
You’ve already made the commitment to come to the gym and to work on your health… Why not do it right, so that you can do it forever?!!