If you’re trying to improve your health and fitness, you are probably using some standard by which you can measure your progress. In this post we will review several different ways to track health goals. We must start with a disclaimer – though we believe that these tools have some merit, we feel that the best measure of progress is how you feel. What’s your energy level like? How are you sleeping? How are your clothes fitting? How is your skin and hair health? Sometimes these subjective measurements can be more telling than the numbers on the scale or the calculator. We suggest using a number of different methods and tools to get an overall picture of your progress.
- Weight – traditional weight charts often do not take body type and muscle tone into account. For this reason, measuring your progress by weight alone may sometimes be deceiving. Still, it is one consideration when looking at your overall goals. A good weight calculator can be found on healthstatus.com. You may also want to talk with your physician about your healthy weight based on your body type.
- Body Mass Index (BMI) – This measurement gives you number that compares your weight to your height. It may be an indicator of high body fat, though it has some shortcomings – it does not account for fat-free body mass, such as muscle and bone. Use this measurement together with others for a more accurate picture. Calculate your BMI at smartbmicalculator.com.
- Waist Measurements – Research has shown that waist circumference is linked to risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. According to Heartfoundation.org, a waist circumference of over 31.5 inches for women and 37 inches for men may mean an individual is at a higher risk for health concerns. We recommend measuring your waist, hips, biceps, thighs, and neck periodically during your health and fitness routine to track progress that way.
- Blood Pressure – Get a reading at your doctor’s office or local pharmacy and check it periodically as part of tracking your progress. Seeing your blood pressure normalize is just one of the many benefits of improving your health. Check out this article on the American Heart Association site to understand blood pressure numbers.
Use your good judgment when tracking your progress. Consider numerical and non-numerical successes as achievements along the way. While we can not offer medical advice, hopefully some of these tools can help you take snapshots of your overall health. Please talk to your physician about any questions or concerns you may have.