We are constantly given health statistics about ourselves. From the gadgets we can buy to our cell phones, at any given moment we can pull up some sort of health statistic about ourselves. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but what can you do with this information? Here are a few health statistics that you actually need to know.
You Need to Sleep
What it Does: Obviously, this is when you are sleeping.
Why it Matters: Many the gadgets that you can buy can track your sleep. They can track your REM sleep cycle or how often that you wake up in the night. Generally, these are not perfect trackers. They are usually not precise. If you get enough rest, you will be fitter and weigh less than when you are sleep deprived. Getting enough sleep can also counteract depression and anxiety.
Aim For: You should try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Resting Heart Rate
What it Does: It measures how many times your heart beats per minute.
Why it Matters: It reflects how healthy your cardiovascular system is. If your heart beats are lower, it means that your heart does not have to work over time to get blood flowing through your body (this is good). The lower your resting heart rate is, the healthier you are. When it is high, you are at higher risk for various conditions, diseases, and even death.
Aim For: Your resting heart rate should be around 60 beats per minute.
Heart Rate Variability
What it Does: This is the time between heart beats.
Why it Matters: This helps you to measure your stress levels. If you are relaxed, the time between heart beats will be high. If you are overly stressed, the time between heart beats will be very low. Some gadgets can measure this for you.
Aim For: Anything above 50 is good for you, but everyone’s is different, so do not stress unless it is unusually low.
What it Does: This is the rate at which your body can utilize oxygen.
Why it Matters: This can help with your cardiovascular and aerobic capacity. The higher this number is, the more that you can exercise. You can go for longer and harder at the gym when these numbers are high. If you have poor VO2 max, it is often associated with diabetes and an early death. You can get a professional reading or you can buy a device that measures this for you.
Aim For: You should be at about 60 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of your body weight.
What it Does: This will help you to estimate how much fat your body is carrying.
Why it Matters: The more weight that you carry around your midsection the more dangerous it is for you. The more fat you have around your waist, the more fat that you probably have around your internal organs. This can let toxins into your internal organs. This can result in raising cholesterol, blood clotting, and insulin resistance. You will also most likely have cardiovascular disease if you carry extra weight. To measure, you should be measuring around your hip bones.
Aim For: Your waist circumference should be less than half your height. For example, if you are 80 inches tall, your waist should be around 40 inches around.
Body Fat Percentage
What it Does: It measures how much fat is in your body.
Why it Matters: When it comes to BMI, instead of body fat percentage, it measures both your fat and muscle content, which is not an accurate reading. You need to do a body fat percentage reading instead of a BMI reading. The more muscle mass that you have, it shows that your metabolism is working great. You can find your body fat percentage with a smart scale.
Aim For: Your body fat percentage should be around 6 to 17 percent.
What it Does: A blood pressure test measures the pressure that is put on your artery walls when your heart is beating. This is what makes the two numbers, when your heart is contracting and relaxing.
Why it Matters: Your blood pressure is a large part of your health. If you have a high systolic pressure, the top number, this can suggest cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure damages your cardiovascular system. This can harm your brain, lungs, kidneys, and even more. You can lower your high blood pressure by exercising, limiting your sodium intake, losing weight, and cutting back on alcohol.
Aim For: The perfect blood pressure is 120/80 or lower.
What it Does: It measures the level of certain substances in your blood. HDL is good cholesterol, while LDL is bad cholesterol.
Why it Matters: This matters because if you have high cholesterol, it can predict heart disease. You can maintain a healthy weight, have low sugar and high fiber diet, and you will stay away from high cholesterol levels. Be careful because high cholesterol is a family trait, so if you have a family history, make sure that you are getting checked yearly or more.
Aim For: Your HDL levels should be at about 60 milligrams a deciliter, while you LDL levels should be under 150 milligrams a deciliter.
What it Does: This measures how much glucose is going through your bloodstream.
Why it Matters: This is an indicator for heart attack, stroke, and specifically diabetes. Glucose is what your body uses for fuel, and it regulated by your insulin levels. If your blood sugar is too high, your glucose is stored as fat. You should be getting your blood sugar levels tested yearly, unless you have a family history of diabetes, then you may need to be checked more frequently.
Aim For: You should have about 70-99 milligrams per deciliter, if it is any higher, you may be at risk for diabetes.