Far too many people get hung up on the numbers that appear on the bathroom scale. However, to achieve optimal overall health, you should pay attention to these other numbers more than your weight.
- Body mass index: BMI is a ratio of your height and weight. Use this BMI calculator to determine if you’re within the “normal” weight range.
- Waist measurement: Wrap a tape measure around your abdomen midway between your hips and ribs. The goal for men is to maintain a waist smaller than 40 inches. Non-pregnant women should aim for less than 35 inches.
- Blood pressure: The next time you’re at the doctor’s office, pay attention to your blood pressure reading. It should ideally be below 120/80.
- Blood sugar level: A glucose test tells you your blood sugar levels. A healthy reading is 100 mg/dL before you eat and less than 140 mg/dL some hours later.
- Cholesterol levels: A lipid test identifies your cholesterol levels. The ideal numbers are 200 mg/dL or less of total cholesterol, with “good” HDL representing 60 mg/dL or more of that. Triglycerides should also be below 150 mg/dL.
- Time spent exercising: The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, or 30 minutes per day five days per week.
- Time spent sitting: Being sedentary for eight hours a day is bad for your health. If you have a desk job, take a break every 30 to 60 minutes to walk around and stretch.
- Daily step count: 10,000 steps a day is a number you hear a lot, but you can set a goal specific to you with your doctor’s help.
- Hours of sleep: Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night to optimize hormone levels, muscle growth, and brain function.
- Hours of screen time: You can’t help it if you have to work on the computer, but limit your recreational screen time to two hours per day.
- Cups of water: While the exact amount you need depends on your weight, physical activity, and the time of year, aim to drink at least eight cups of water per day.
- Fruit and vegetable intake: Produce should be the foundation of your diet. Strive for 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day.
- Alcohol intake: You don’t have to abstain completely to be healthy, but limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks per day.
- Cigarette usage: On the other hand, you should steer clear of cigarettes altogether. They cause more deaths than illegal drugs, alcohol, car accidents, gun incidents, and HIV combined.
The numbers on the scale may not be everything, but if you’re overweight, you could improve your health by dropping a few pounds. Contact Effective Integrative Healthcare to learn more about our medical weight loss program and find out if it’s right for you.