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Make 2018 a Year of Good Health

Make 2018 a Year of Good Health

Leading a healthy lifestyle tops many Americans’ lists of New Year’s resolutions, but exactly what defines good health? As calendars will soon be turning to 2018, ATRIO Health Plans is sharing several important questions and answers that can help inform your personal health-improvement efforts.

Consider these Questions

To assist with navigating your way to a healthier 2018, consider these following important health questions and answers:

  • How much should I weigh? There’s no question that being overweight is unhealthy. In fact, obesity has long been connected with several serious conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and stroke. Determining if your weight falls into the unhealthy category, however, isn’t simply a matter of standing on the scale. That’s because a variety of factors figure into the equation; for example, while muscle is preferable to fat, muscle weighs more than fat. So, the number on a scale doesn’t necessarily answer the question: How much should I weigh?

To help answer that question, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidelines. Specifically, the CDC says that a waist size of more than 40 inches for a man, and 35 inches for a non-pregnant woman, is an indication of being overweight. Your body mass index (BMI) – a ratio based on your weight and height – is a more precise measure of whether you’re at a healthy weight. Use the CDC's BMI calculator to determine your BMI.

  • How hard do I need to physically push myself to get fit? If you’ve established an exercise regimen designed to improve your fitness level, your target heart rate provides a measure of whether you’re doing enough to reach your goal. (It should be noted that – prior to starting any exercise program – it’s important to consult with your physician.)

Before calculating your target heart rate, you first have to determine your resting heart rate. Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute while it’s at rest, such as before you get out of bed after a good night’s sleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average resting heart rate for children 10 years and older, and adults (including seniors) is 60 to 100 beats per minute. For well-trained athletes, the rate is 40 to 60 beats per minute.

To determine your target heart rate, periodically take your pulse on the inside of your wrist while exercising. Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) to press lightly over your wrist's blood vessels. Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by six to calculate your beats per minute. The goal is to stay between 50% to 85% of your maximum heart rate. This range is your target heart rate.

  • Am I suffering from a mental illness? People tend to focus their resolutions on physical health versus mental/emotional health. The reality, however, is that all components –physical, mental and emotional – are equally important to achieving good overall health.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General's office, "Positive mental health allows people to realize their full potential, cope with the stresses of life, work productively, and make meaningful contributions to their communities. If this description doesn't mirror how you're feeling, or if you've been struggling to navigate daily life for an extended period, seeking professional help may be warranted.

Aim for the Achievable

The key to resolution success is being reasonable in setting your goals. For example, don't declare you're going to run a marathon. Instead, commit to exercising three times a week. You can always increase your goal, and that would be an awesome 2018 achievement!

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html

https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/index.html

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Target-Heart-Rates_UCM_434341_Article.jsp#

https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/priorities/prevention/strategy/mental-and-emotional-well-being.html