How Do You Know If You Are Officially Unfit?
There are tests you can take that depending on the results, can be indicators if you are unfit or not. Specifically they include:
Body Mass Index
Heart Recovery Rate
Resting Heart Rate
Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI is a comparison of body weight to height. Both are factored into a formula to come up with a number. Depending if you are above or below the ideal BMI indicates if you are fit or not.
According to most BMI calculators found online, you are considered at a normal weight for your height if your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. Anything over 24.9 is considered overweight; anything under 18.5 is underweight. A reading over 30 indicates obesity. While BMI is an indicator, it is not the only indicator.
Heart Recovery Rate
This indicator measures how fast your heart rate returns to normal after exercising. Right before you stop your workout, take your heart rate. Take your heart rate again after resting for one minute. It should have dropped by 20 beats per minute or more in that first minute after you stopped exercising. It should continue to drop at about that same rate for each minute after until it reaches your resting heart rate. If you have a slow heart rate drop, it could indicate that you are unfit.
Resting Heart Rate
Unfit people generally have a higher resting heart rate because the body has to work harder at rest than someone that is fit. A normal heart rate should be in the low to mid 70’s beats per minute. If your resting heart rate is above 75, it could be an indicator you are unfit.
This is a measurement of the fitness of your heart and lungs. It is a simple test. A fit person can walk up three flights of stairs and be able to carry on a conversation at the same time. An unfit person will have to stop part way up to catch their breath and will most like already be perspiring.
These are just four of the many fitness tests available. Keep in mind the results from each test are just indicators as to whether you may be unfit or not. While failing one test may not mean you are unfit, failing two or more could be cause for concern and you should schedule an appointment with your healthcare professional for more in-depth tests regarding your fitness level and overall health. If found unfit, s/he can prescribe an exercise regimen and diet that will improve your level of fitness.
5 Reasons to Get Fitter Starting Today
People have a hundred and one reasons why they don’t start working on get fitter today – most of which are not valid, including not having enough time, a common excuse. Everyone can find the time to exercise and eat right. It is just the motivation to get moving has to be greater than the excuses not to.
Usually some event, like a health scare, happens that creates the desire to start getting fit. But in the process, you’ll see these other benefits:
1) Lose weight
To lose one pound of weight in a week, you have to burn 3,500 more calories than you eat in that week. Most people get in trouble with their weight because they are eating far too many calories for the number of calories they burn. Excess calories are stored as fat.
If you break that 3,500 calories per week down into a daily amount – 500 calories – it is more manageable. Eat 250 fewer calories per day and burn off 250 more calories by doing some exercise. Skip the latte in the morning or the can of pop loaded with sugar and you probably reduced your calorie count by at least 250. Walk at 3.5 mph for an hour and you burn 298 calories. There is your 500 + calorie deficit with just those two small changes.
2) Strengthen your bones
As you age, you start to lose bone density at the rate of 10% by age 50 and if sedentary, another 10% each 10 years thereafter. By including some weight training into your exercise program, you can help slow bone loss as you grow older.
3) Tone up muscles
With toned muscles, not only will you look better, but your balance will be better and you’ll maintain flexibility in your joints. Weight training can help build muscle which will then help you burn more calories even at rest. And if you burn more calories, you’ll have an easier time maintaining your weight.
4) Reduce your risk for certain diseases
Your risk to develop heart disease, Type II diabetes and some types of cancers, including colon and breast, increases significantly if you are overweight and out of shape. As your Body Mass Index increases, so does your risk of a heart attack or stroke due to narrowed or blocked arteries.
And if your heart has to work harder to pump blood through narrowed passages, it increases your blood pressure, which causes health issues of its own.
If you already have Type II diabetes and you are overweight, the effects of diabetes will diminish (or in many cases go away entirely) if you lose weight. At the very least you’ll have to take less medication. Best case scenario is you can get off medication altogether.
You can make a change in your fitness level. But you have to start today; tomorrow may be too late.
5) Looking good and feeling young
It’s been proven many times over that exercising can help you look and feel younger, but exactly what kind of exercises should you be doing? Broken down into two broad categories, it should be a mix of cardio and strength training.
Doing anything that raises your heart rate qualifies as cardio training. So whether you ride bike, walk, jog, play tennis or swim laps, all of it gets your blood flowing faster. This gets more oxygen to your cells and more carbon dioxide out.
In a study done at McMaster University in Ontario Canada, researchers had one group of mice run in a wheel while the other group did nothing for exercise. What they found in the group that exercised is that every aspect of their health and appearance improved, verses the control group that did nothing.
But that was only art of the story; they also found that the control group’s fur started graying and balding. In the group that exercised, their fur did not gray, nor did they experience balding.
In another study – this time on humans – a doctor took skin samples from inactive people over 65 years old. Half of the group was put through a cardio exercise routine for three months. The doctor then took another skin sample from each and did a comparison study.
What he found was the group that exercised had improved skin; both their inner and outer layers had significantly improved. So much so that he concluded their skin was of the same age as a 40-year old.
As we age, we lose bone density, muscle mass and tone. By using light weights or resistance bands, but doing many repetitions, you can slow the loss of bone, keep muscle tone and maintain mass. Heck you can even build muscle mass after age 65 with the right program!
The second aspect of looking and feeling younger is eating the right foods. Stay away from fast and processed foods, and diet soda.
Instead, focus on eating lean meats and fish, whole grains, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Each of these foods adds something special to your diet, so to have a complete nutrient plan you need some from each group.
The other half of eating right is portion control. As we get older, our metabolism starts to slow down, so we don’t need as much food as we once did to maintain our current weight. Read labels to see how much a portion really is as packaging can leading you into eating more than one serving.
Doing cardio, strength training and eating right is as close to the fountain of youth as anything we have. Exercising on a consistent basis not only increases endurance and stamina, but it improves muscle tone and skin. With exercise and healthy eating, you’ll look years younger than you really are, have more energy and in general feel better and have a more youthful outlook on life.