Maintaining good health is a complex process, and many factors contribute to it. Although many people often rely on weight as an indicator of their health, experts suggest it is crucial to look beyond this metric and assess other factors that may be more accurate and less anxiety-inducing.
For example, while body size can be a factor in overall health, it is not the only indicator. Muscle is denser than fat, meaning that people who train in strength may gain weight as they build muscle. This is why focusing solely on weight can be misleading and inaccurate.
To accurately assess fitness, it is essential to define what it means. From a physiological perspective, fitness can be defined as how well the heart, lungs, and cardiovascular system deliver and use oxygen. Measuring heart rate is one of the easiest ways to assess this, and most smartwatches provide reliable measurements. An average resting heart rate for healthy adults is between 60 and 80 beats per minute, while athletes may have a lower resting heart rate due to their high fitness level. VO2 max is the most precise assessment of cardio-respiratory health and can be determined through specialized exercise tests.
Fitness goals can help track progress. Fitness tests provide initial performance benchmarks that individuals can use to compare future results. As strength and cardiovascular fitness improve, individuals should be able to complete more reps or beat their earlier time, indicating improved fitness levels.
Another factor to consider is physical ability. This can include measures such as flexibility, balance, and coordination. For example, being able to perform basic exercises such as push-ups or squats can be an indicator of overall fitness.
Overall, focusing on exercise tests, heart rate, and physical ability can be more accurate and less anxiety-inducing ways to assess health and fitness levels than weight alone. These metrics provide a more comprehensive understanding of overall health and fitness, allowing individuals to make informed decisions about their lifestyle and exercise routines.
It is also important to remember that everyone's health journey is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving optimal health. People should focus on finding a sustainable and enjoyable exercise routine that works for them, making healthy dietary choices, and getting enough rest and sleep.
Ultimately, maintaining good health requires a holistic approach that considers multiple factors. By focusing on exercise tests, heart rate, and physical ability, individuals can better understand their overall health and fitness levels, allowing them to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.