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by Zara
01 Aug

How To Understand Your Health Metrics And Make The Most Out Of It

Learning about how your daily physical activity affects your health can be life-changing. And it might be enough to get you back to the gym or, at the very least, joining your friends in tracking your daily steps on a wearable device. Life is short! Play hard!

We found interesting data from the National Health Interview Survey 2014 published by the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Today's topic of concern is whether contemporary Americans are getting the suggested amount of weekly exercise. Healthy adults engage in a combination of aerobic activity and muscle strengthening to keep their bodies in good physical condition. People may get some activity from their jobs and from running around on their daily errands. However, many knowledge worker jobs of our time are sedentary, which means people spend more of their working hours sitting at a desk or standing in a limited area. They bend and twist and do repetitive motions, but they may not be sufficiently active unless they purposefully allocate time to exercise. While some adults may add exercise before, during, or after the traditional workday, others will come home from work and relax. They may watch TV, eat, use their computing devices, engage in hobbies, or perform other low-level activities (i.e. household chores) that do not aerobically challenge their bodies.


What Did the 2014 National Health Interview Survey Find? 

According to the CDC's estimates, 43.5%  of adult males and 50% of adult females did not meet the guidelines for suggested aerobic or muscle strengthening activity. So, the question becomes what ways you can become more active and track your progress according to different fitness and health metrics. We break the most important ones down for you here:


Fitness Metrics

1. Steps

According to the Mayo Clinic website, you can use a fitness tracker to find the baseline of the number of steps you walk. When you use an app, you also get the average steps walked, but the device isn't always accurate. You can review at your average distance in kilometers or miles for a week, a month, or a year. See your daily progress compares from week to week and from month to month. If your average decreased in the past week, then you need to walk more steps in the next week.


2. Calories Burned

A fitness tracker or a cardio machine at the gym will identify how many calories you burn during a fitness activity. It is more accurate if you enter your weight before you begin. If you're tracking the total number of calories you eat per day, then subtract the number of calories you burn. Ensure that you're burning enough daily calories according to your basal calorie rate, which a fitness trainer helps you calculate at the gym based on a body fat analysis.


Health Metrics

3. Blood Pressure and Pulse

It's interesting how tracking your blood pressure helps you stay motivated. High blood pressure is an important risk factor for heart attack and stroke. You could walk daily and feel satisfied with the number of steps taken. However, being fit involves challenging yourself to improve over time. Daily BP readings help you identify whether your blood is in a healthy range or if you need to consult your physician about HBP medicine. Your doctor can also recommend diet changes to decrease your blood pressure. If you only walk daily, it may not be intense enough (except power walking or treading inclines) to raise your heart rate to the target range. Consult this American Heart Association chart to find the range for your age group.


4. Cholesterol

A routine lipid panel will help the doctor to determine your blood chemistry. Maintaining the right cholesterol levels can prevent heart attack and stroke. Cholesterol readings can be tricky and are best explained by a doctor. There are different cholesterol measurements that fall into the range of low, average, or high, including LDL, HDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is "bad" cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is "good" cholesterol. Total cholesterol examines all content together. Triglycerides are fats carried in the blood. Unused calories, alcohol, and sugar in the blood become stored in the form of fat within your body's cells. 


5. Body Measurements

Men and women can both track the number of inches around each of their key body parts. These include your chin, your bicep, your thigh, your waist, your bust, and your hips. If you see a reduction in the number of inches for a body measurement, you know that your body shape has changed. Taking before and after pictures and monitoring your weight on a scale only offer some evidence of losing weight. Get body fat readings once a month at the gym or buy a device and track this metric at home. 


Sports Milestones

If you need more fitness metrics to track on an activity tracker or the inKin social fitness platform, you could challenge yourself to perform different physical tests much like we did in elementary P.E. You can create a chart and post it on the wall. Sports milestones help you push your body to new levels of fitness without focusing as much on a device's reading. The goal is to increase the speed or number of repetitions you can achieve without overexerting yourself. Basic metrics include the number of sit-ups and the number of push-ups you can do in a minute. You can also track your total number of chin-ups and dips on an elevated bar before stopping. For running, you could track the 400-meter dash, the 1,000-meter dash, the kilomenter, and/or the mile. You can also see how far you could jump in the long jump fashion. It's also motivating to create personal metrics based on your favorite sport or exercise. Swimmers can track their personal best time in an event such as the 100-yard or 500-yard freestyle. It's easy to count the number of laps and use a stopwatch. Kayakers can track their total distance and try to achieve it in a lesser time. Weight lifters can seek to perform more reps or a higher total weight on their favorite techniques.


What You Can Do

To create a healthier lifestyle, remember that you are going to add cardiovascular and different types of movement and strength/conditioning. Becoming more active increases your energy level to the point your body will feel out-of-sorts if you don't exercise. Getting sufficient aerobic exercise and strengthening your muscles requires making changes day by day. If you overdo any new fitness behaviors, no matter how gratifying they are, you're likely to burn out. With participation in a social fitness platform, you can motivate yourself to make gradual lifestyle changes, such as increasing the number of steps you walk per day, and compare your results to others. In a social fitness community, you are checking in with other people who also want to be in the best physical shape they can be given their present health limitations. With inKin on your side, it's easy to celebrate daily, weekly, and monthly successes and failures. You won't have any excuses (just the ugly truth) to motivate you to do better each week! This summer, the weather will be nice. Walk your way to better health by parking farther from the entrance to every building. You can do it!


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