ARE YOU HEALTHY?
Healthy is not an assessment of how much you weigh, what you eat, or how often you work out. Yes, these things can add up to better health, but it is not what determines health. When you walk into a doctors office they will give you a health check-up, but how much of that exam encompasses height, weight, blood pressure, and how often do you exercise? About as long as it took you to read this far.
Does that 30 seconds tell me whether you are healthy or not? Well, lets look at these.
Height and weight are used to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). After some short math, this will give the doctor a number that should be under 25, if you are normal weight or lower for you height. However, body composition tells us that muscle weighs more than fat. Not true, 1 pound of muscle is the same as 1 pound of fat, but the volume is different. Just under 20% different. So, if you are overly muscular you will come in overweight, or even obese. If most of your tissue is fat you can still come in normal, or underweight.
Blood pressure is a good indicator of circulatory health. It tells us just how hard your heart and circulatory system are working to pump your blood. However, you can be a couch-potato and still have a good blood pressure reading. Here, abnormal is key because high is high. Yes, there are several factors that can ramp up your blood pressure. Just thinking about certain things will raise blood pressure right along with your morning coffee. So, this one can be misleading if it is low or high.
How often you exercise is important, but not the end-all of existence. Workouts and exercise don't always come in the form of a gym membership. Activity like walking, taking the dogs out, kayaking, playing sports, gardening, mowing the lawn, and even certain hobbies can be considered exercise, depending on how you do them. You should be moderately active at least 60 minutes a day, depending on your goals. But, doing 60 minutes does not guarantee health.
These are all factors that are checked when considering your health score, along with many others. Some things have to physically be taken from you, like blood, to figure out health. This is because health is a measure of how your body performs on a daily basis, to do what is needed to be done. Your cardio-respiratory system is part of that, as is your muscle strength, endurance and body composition. However, so is your social life, your mental status, and diet.
So, don't feel like you are unhealthy just because your diet may be a little wanting, or your BMI is too high. Have yourself checked and ask, "Does all this look like I'm healthy." It is a pile of factors to consider when deciding whether you are healthy or not. So, stay active, eat right, and let the rest take care of itself. Stop worrying.