Simple Tests Can Evaluate Health Risk
Over the last few months I've been writing this article, your feedback has been tremendous. Some people like it, others hate it. But at least some of you are reading it. The problem is, not enough are doing anything to improve your health.
I've decided that to motivate you, I will have you perform a couple of simple tests. Tests you can do, right now, with a friend if you like, to see what kind of shape you're in.
Get a measuring tape or some string and a ruler. Place the measuring tape or string snugly around your waist. What is the measurement?
The amount of abdominal fat you have is a predictor of your risk for developing heart disease, hypertension or type 2 diabetes. Your risk increases if your waist measurement is over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women. Increased waist circumference can be a marker for increased risk even in persons of normal weight. Is your waist circumference on the larger size? Then make plans NOW to start a fitness program.
Body Mass Index - BMI
Another test you can do is called Body Mass Index or BMI. A team of British researchers studied 7,700 men for 15 years to determine what constitutes the perfect balance. Remind me to become a British researcher; that sounds like an easy job!
The formula calculates your weight-to-height ratio. It is a measure of general fitness and health. The goal is to have the ratio, or Body Mass Index (BMI) equal about 22, although it should be noted that anything under 25 (and over 18) is considered healthy.
What those British researchers found was that the lowest combined rate of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and even death occurred in men whose BMI was between 20 and 23.9. Once your BMI gets higher than that, disease and death rates start rising about 10 percent per index point - or about every six to eight pounds for most people (depending on height).
Women, please note: Later research was done that showed women could use the same BMI formula as men.
Weight on a Scale
The scale is generally NOT a good indicator of health. For example, let's say two women both weigh 155 pounds.
"Beth" may have 60 pounds of body fat and 95 pounds of lean body mass, while "Ann" may have 35 pounds of body fat and 120 pounds of lean body mass. They both weigh the same, but "Ann" is in much better shape because she has more lean body mass and less body fat.
Now that you know more about your physical condition do something to improve it!
Schedule a physical with your doctor or health care provider. Your doctor will evaluate your BMI, waist measurement, and other vital signs. If you are overweight, remember that even a small weight loss (just 10 percent of your current weight) will lower your risk of developing heart disease, hypertension and even some cancers.
Once your doctor has cleared you, join a gym, sign-up for yoga or study martial arts. Get a personal trainer, dietitian or nutritionist. Resolve that six months from now, you will make some kind of physical improvement in your body, and I'm not talking about plastic surgery! What are you waiting for, the winning lotto ticket? Do it NOW!
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.