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5 Key Measures of Fitness Health

Posted Oct 01 2008 4:19pm

While sorting through some old work papers, I found a Personal Fitness Profile.  It had all the measurements from my fitness health profiles from 2003-2008.

My fitness scores in the various areas are interesting to me but what would probably be more interesting to you are the areas identified as key to fitness health and the charts that showed where you scored versus the norm.

5 Areas for Fitness Health

% Body Fat:  Do you realize that according to some fitness health experts, total body weight is NOT as important a factor in overall health as percentage body fat?  High % body fat can increase your risk of heart disease & other medical issues.  It also makes it tougher to joggle a marathon.  Check out this chart and see where you stack up.  Women tend to have a higher % body fat then men.  Sorry ladies, that’s just genetics.  But you wear it well.

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Strength: When you don’t work out as much as a good joggler should, you naturally begin to lose strength. But being strong is important for helping prevent recurring aches and pains in your back and other parts of your body.

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Flexibility: This is just a measure of how “stretchy” you are. One way you can improve this area of your fitness is by doing yoga. Check out the Yogamazing podcast for free episodes. Anyway, maintaining flexibility helps prevent injury and makes doing daily exercises, like joggling, more enjoyable. The way you measure to get a number on this chart is to sit on the ground legs straight out in front of you. Then lean forward and measure how far your hands can push.

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Click to make bigger

Aerobic Capacity: As every runner and juggler should know, the easier it is to breathe, the easier it is to exercise. Your ability to breath and use oxygen is dependent on the efficiency of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. This number is distilled into a factor called your Maximum Oxygen Uptake or, VO2 max. A higher number is better. You can determine this number by riding a stationary bike and taking measurements of your blood pressure & heart rate. There are also VO2 max charts you can use based on your times in recent races. These seem more accurate than the ones I had measured.

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Click to enlarge

Blood pressure: The final fitness health area is your heart health as measured by your blood pressure. An increased blood pressure is bad for health. It is associated with all kinds of troubling conditions. It is measured by putting pressure on your arm and observing your pulse rate. In general, a lower blood pressure is a more healthy one (without getting too low that is).

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Click to enlarge

Average Joggler stats

I don’t know what my numbers currently are but here my historical numbers were as follows.

Body Fat
06/03: 14.3%
10/03: 11.3%
04/04: 13.9%
10/04: 11.7%
05/05: 12.5%
09/06: 13.9%
05/08: 15.8%

Guess I started to get a little fat the last couple of years. So much for the thousands of miles I’ve been running each year.

Strength
Data only available for 2 years 09/06 = 55 and 05/08 = 55.5

Flexibility
Hovers between 19.25 and 20.25 inches

Aerobic Capacity
06/03: 53.25
10/03: 55.95
04/04: 52.85
10/04: 55.36
05/05: 56.92
09/06: 60.19
05/08: 51.35

I’m skeptical of the validity of these numbers. If they were true, I’d be running much faster. My race times indicate a VO2 max of somewhere are 46-47.

Blood Pressure
I’m good here with values typically of 95-112 / 60-82

Conclusion

So there you have it, the 5 key measurements for fitness health. Where do you score?

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