Even if you’re not a math major, numbers can control your life and your attitude if you become a slave to your scale or to what size jeans you wear. I hear this often when clients gain or lose pounds. When they lose a pound, they’re happy and feel like they’ve really accomplished something. When they gain a pound, they’re upset and discouraged. Rather than concentrating on those numbers, and you know how tricky they can be especially depending on the time of the month, let’s take a look at some numbers that actually are important.
Blood pressure tells a lot about how healthy you are on the inside. The higher the blood pressure, the greater chances of heart failure, coronary artery disease, stroke, and more. The ideal blood pressure in a healthy person over age 20 is under 120/80. Any reading over 120/80 is considered higher than normal and steps should be taken to reduce these numbers, especially if the reading tops 140/90. Regular vigorous exercise and reducing sodium intake are the top 2 ways to lower blood pressure. There are other ways to accomplish this, however, and more info on blood pressure can be found at www.heart.org.
Resting Heart Rate
Resting Heart Rate tells how efficient your heart is beating in any rested state. The lower the number, the more in shape your heart is! This number generally works hand in hand with blood pressure and most digital blood pressure cuffs give this reading in addition to blood pressure. The great news about exercise is that it typically reduces blood pressure and resting heart rate. Any RHR above 100 is considered too high. When you exercise your heart – remember, it’s a muscle – the more efficient it becomes and the healthier you become!
WHR indicates body fat pattern. Evaluating these numbers shows the obesity classification in an individual and their health risk. For women, WHR values above .80 are considered “apples” and values below .80 are considered “pears.” Abdominal fat cells are primarily responsible for greater health risk in apples for health issues like Type II diabetes and high blood pressure. With regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet, you can whittle that waistline down to a healthier number regardless of your body shape. For more info on transforming your diet, www.choosemyplate.gov is an excellent resource.
So the next time you obsess over the scale or the size jeans you’re wearing (and you know different designers run sizes differently), consider these numbers instead as an indicator of your overall health and fitness. So toss your scale and have your blood pressure, resting heart rate, and waist-to-hip ratio evaluated instead!