The health and fitness communities are slowly moving away from using the scale and BMI charts as the primary ways to measure someone’s health and fitness levels. The rise of the body positive movement, brought on by fearless pioneers such as Michele Burmaster of the Body Positive Fitness Alliance and body-positive yogi Jessamyn Stanley, has paved the way for people of all body types to showcase that they are healthy, well-rounded individuals, regardless of what the scale says. The movement is great - but it begs the question, how else can we measure our health, fitness, and overall well being?
There are so many different ways to measure someone’s health, but three main ways make it easy to manage and track overtime: the numbers you get from the doctor running a blood panel, how your workouts and movement routines are progressing over a set period of time, and the way that you feel.
First and foremost, running a blood panel at the doctor will give you several numbers to look at. Blood tests can vary in what information they provide, but getting a full blood panel will allow you to check important health markers such as your cholesterol levels, kidney function, glucose levels and electrolyte balance.
These measurements will help paint a clear foundation of what you’re working with and how your body is functioning overall. Regardless of what the BMI chart tells you, if all of your health markers that come up on a blood test are in good shape, you already know that you’ve got a good health foundation that you’re working with.
From there, another great health marker to check is how your workout and movement routines are progressing. This varies wildly from person to person, and goal setting becomes important in developing a plan and setting realistic goals for what you want to achieve from your workouts and general movement. Once you’ve established a goal, a great way to check in on your overall health is to see how well your progressing toward your movement-based goal. If you’re looking to increase the amount you can deadlift, but you’re not able to bump up the weights after a couple months, you may want to see how well your training fits into your daily routine, if you’re getting enough sleep, and if you’re eating enough nutritious foods to power your workouts.
Perhaps your movement-based goal is to stretch every day so that running around with your kids isn’t difficult. Whatever your workout and movement routine is, checking in to see if you’re progressing at a steady rate overtime and if you’re able to maintain your workout and movement routine is another great health indicator.
Lastly (but certainly not least), check in with how you feel. Take notes each day about how well you slept, how hydrated you feel during the day, what your hunger levels were, what your energy was like, and if you had any aches, pains or bodily discomfort of any kind. Keep a log for a month and see how you’re feeling overall.
If you’re consistently feeling well rested, hydrated, content after your meals and don’t experience any chronic pain or discomfort, then you’re probably doing pretty ok.
Healthiness looks different on every single person - that’s part of the beauty of the human body. By looking at other health measures, you can make sure that regardless of what the number on the scale says, you’re making conscious efforts to take care of your body and your mind.
Lauren Weiss is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor based out of Long Beach, CA. She specializes in kettlebell training and unconventional workouts and has been working with both types of fitness for over a year. Lauren has her BOLT Kettlebell Sport Certification through the USA Kettlebell League and has expertise working with kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells and several unconventional fitness tools. Lauren received her BA in Journalism and uses her writing expertise to craft thought-provoking articles about trending fitness, health & wellness topics. Follow Lauren on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.
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