Your physical health is just as important as your mental and nutritional health. How you care for your body determines how well it functions and at what level. Your physical health can be evaluated in several ways, weight, fitness level, body fat, cardiovascular status, and flexibility.
Your weight says something about your physical health. Weight and height can be calculated to provide your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI number places you in a category of underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. While your weight is just a number, depending on that number it can put you at risk for several chronic health issues like diabetes type 2, heart problems, or certain cancers.
If your weight falls into the overweight, obese, or morbid obese categories, it can put a strain on your skeletal structure. This can cause mobility and movement issues. It can also cause you to get out of breath doing normal activities like walking because your heart must work harder to carry out the movement.
Your fitness level can be evaluated by testing yourself with different exercises. One article in Every Day Health state there is 5 components of fitness, aerobic or cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. Knowing how well you perform engaging in the mentioned components allows you to place yourself somewhere in the range of beginner to elite level.
If you haven’t engaged in physical activity in some time, it may seem hard to do exercises you used to do. For those who never exercise, they may find doing any fitness test difficult. Some exercises to test yourself include sit-ups, squats, pull-ups, or a mile run. As you engage in these exercises track your time and the number reps you can do.
Measuring your body fat percentage can be done several ways. One way that is less complicated and easy to obtain is using skinfold calipers. No matter which device you choose to use know that there is a percentage of error, you should expect an estimate, not a perfect number. Body fat adds to your body weight. Having some fat is good, so try not to get caught up on having no fat at all. Knowing your body fat in relation to physical health is helpful in evaluating health risks.
According to The American Council on Exercise, there are ranges of body fat percentages for levels of fitness. The range indicates body fat percentages from athletes to obese persons. Body fat percentages are different for women and men. For example, fit women would fall in the range of 21%-24% and fit men fall into the range of 14%-17%.
The condition of your heart is important when evaluating your physical health. Your heart is the pumping machine that makes physical activity possible. The circulation of oxygen and blood are key elements in the process. They deliver needed oxygen and blood to the lungs and to muscles of your body.
Evaluate the condition of your heart by first assessing your heart numbers. These numbers are your heart rate (the number of times your heart beats in a minute) and your blood pressure. You can assess your heart rate by placing two fingers on the inside of your wrist on the thumb side, press in gently and count how many times you feel a tap (pulse) for one full minute. During that time, you can also feel for an irregular rhythm or beat. To assess your blood pressure, you can stop by any minute clinic or places where you know they have blood pressure machines set up. Check to see if your blood pressure is normal, 120/80 or less.
Since the heart is so important to physical health you want to be aware of any signs of heart failure. If you should notice any signs be sure to report them to your doctor as soon as possible. These signs include fluid retention, an example would be lung congestion or swollen ankles. Experiencing dizziness or weakness may also be a sign.
Your ability to flex says something about the moves you can make with your body. This may not seem important for everyday routine things like brushing your teeth or walking around the house or store. But when you make intentional moves to be physically active and reach with your arms beyond what you’re used to or squat lower than you’ve practiced you will feel the difference.
Test yourself to see how flexible you are. Sit on the floor, legs straight out in front of you. Now, bend forward and reach for your toes. You can also do this standing up. Stand straight up, feet together and reach for your toes. Always be careful and avoid injury by not doing beyond what your body is demonstrating it can do or making fast, jerking movements. Not stretching over a long period of time can result in stiff muscles and joints.
Your physical health matters. It seems we live in a time where shortcuts and doing less to get the results you want is promoted, especially in the area of diet and weight loss. That method may work for some areas of life, but not all. Get started today assessing your physical health. Then, if you find your routine needs some tweaking, create an exercise routine that fits your goals and lifestyle. After all, our bodies were designed to move!
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