Everyone wants to ensure that they live a long and healthy life. It’s why the fitness club industry is worth an estimated $80 billion per year in the US alone, and it’s why so many people get caught up in the latest fad diets and fitness trends.
Whether you believe in following diet trends, hitting the gym hard, or sticking to the proven methods of eating healthily and exercising regularly, it’s important to keep track of the shape that your body is in. After all, it’s the only way to measure the results of your lifestyle choices. Here are three proven ways to properly evaluate your health and fitness.
This one may seem obvious, but it’s incredible how few people know how to properly perform and interpret regular weight checks.
Firstly, it’s important to take small fluctuations in weight with a pinch of salt. A whole number of mitigating factors can explain minor weight gain or loss, so it’s important not to panic if you see the scales tip a pound or two in either direction.
Also remember that if you’re working out regularly, a weight increase – or apparent lack of weight loss – could be explained by muscle gain.
To rule out as many of these extraneous factors as possible, weigh yourself at the same time of day, before eating, and with as few clothes on as possible. Don’t weigh yourself every day – you won’t see any dramatic losses and it could discourage you from keeping yourself in shape. Once a week is fine.
With the above in mind, use self-weighing to keep an eye on your overall weight changes over the weeks and months and you’ll have a great indicator of your overall health.
Get a complete blood count
A “complete blood count” is a panel of blood tests that analyzes components of a person’s blood. This, in turn, helps evaluate a person’s overall health.
These tests measure your blood’s red and white blood cells, platelets, and hematocrit levels. They’re a surefire way to determine how well your body can fight off diseases, as well as your fitness levels with regards to how much oxygen your blood can pump to your muscles. You can find your nearest testing facility for your complete blood count here.
Monitor your sleep
Sleep is a fantastic indicator of your overall physical and mental wellbeing. According to Psychology Today, a healthy and active lifestyle helps strengthen your circadian rhythms, helping you sleep better and guard against sleep problems such as insomnia.
If you are not keeping yourself active on a regular basis, you may find that the length, and more importantly, the quality of your sleep suffers. The good news is that even a short, brisk walk of around 15 to 20 minutes can be enough to set your sleep patterns on the road to improvement.
For measurement, there are several free apps that can help monitor the length and quality of your sleep. Or you can keep a sleep diary where you grade each night’s sleep out of five and note the number of hours that you slept for.