Hi. It’s a Wednesday and day for fitness notes again. Quite so often, I notice gym-goers and outdoor exercisers doing their thing and not gauging their times or monitoring their vitals. I often wonder if it is just laziness or ignorance. Newbies especially, take a couple of weeks before tuning in to their body signals and reading up enough to know how to go about their routines.
Newbie or not, many of us are not sure if we are getting closer to our goals. I am assuming we set ourselves to fitness programs because we have a goal, whatever that may be – to lose fat, to tone our abs, to get better definition on our arms and legs, to condition our heart, to lead a healthy life etc.
Here are a few ways you can tell if you have made moves towards your fitness goals:
1. Recovery Heart Rate: Researches on athletes show that the recovery heart rate is a more reliable measure of fitness than the resting heart rate. It is the time your heart takes to recover from peak activity levels to the normal beats per minute (around 72 bpm). Take your pulse reading (read the pulse for 6 seconds and then multiply by 10) immediately after an 8-10 minute of high intensity workout. Then take your pulse reading after a minute. If your total pulse count has reduced by at least 30 beats, you are moving towards your goal. In the initial few weeks of your program, the difference may be of 10, 15 or 20 beats but will slowly give better readings. Ideally, your heart rate should be less than 120 bpm after 3-4 minutes after stopping peak activity.
2. Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR): We know that a larger girth weight and size has been associated with heart diseases as well as diabetes. So if there is a reduction in your waist circumference or your waist to hip circumference, it is a sign that you are moving towards your fitness goals. Remember, there are minimum values to all readings/figures beyond which the health is at risk, having swung the other end of the pendulum.
3. Body-Mass Index (BMI): This is a ready but not very accurate ratio. This ratio gives an indication of a healthy body weight for a given height. Though people who are muscular in built Trucking companies that operate truck driving lessons may have stricter qualifiers than independent trucking . or are stubby may have higher BMIs, it may not mean it is an unhealthy pointer. However, BMI does give a rough estimate of healthy, under or over weight, so that one may take steps to lower the BMI. If your BMI reading pre-program was higher than what it is now, you are on track with your goals.
4. Incidences of Injuries: You will notice that in the initial stages of any exercises, the chances of getting injured during a workout are higher – both because of lower fitness levels leading to overexertion and due to wrong form/techniques. As your muscles get more conditioned, you are less likely to tire out soon and cause injuries. You will also acquire better form by trial and error, better knowledge etc.
5. Performance Indicators – Longer, Faster, More: As more time lapses, you will notice you are able to run for longer distances, able to perform aerobic activities faster and also probably do more of those activities (as in more number of squats, push ups or heavier weights etc).
6. Quality of Life: If you feel that your overall quality of life is improving, even if it is marginally so, is an indication of better overall fitness levels. Indications of this can be seen by increased level of self-esteem, more stable moods and a general feeling of well-being.
Of course, if you would go a step further to take medical tests, you will see the readings on cholesterol (especially, LDL), blood pressure; lipid and blood profile improve as well.