Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Are you fit?

 Fitness is, in the simplest terms, is your ability to perform well in life. We all have different goals and agendas and we must be efficient physically and mentally. A fit life is probably a lot more fun than a non-fit one. How do we know we are fit?  Absence of diseases? Being lean? The feeling I am alright? It can be none of these. Some indicators are given below:
Your weight                                                                                                                                                             If you are overweight you are obviously not fit. A thumb rule is to calculate your height in inches. That can be your weight in kilograms. If you are 5’10” it works out to 70 inches and ideal weight is 70 kilograms.  You can use a formula given hereunder.
J. D. Robinson Formula (1983):  52 kg + 1.9 kg per inch over 5 feet  (man)
49 kg + 1.7 kg per inch over 5 feet (woman)
BMI :  Divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters.  If your weight is 80kgs, and height is 5’ 10” (5 foot 10 inches)  it works out to 1.77M and hence your BMI is equal to 25.56.                                                                                                                 The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains BMI should be between 18.5 - 25 for both man and woman. 
Your waist line measurement is also an important indicator.                                                                    Take a measure using a tape directly placed on your skin or on very light clothing halfway between your lowest rib and the top of your hip bone, breathing normally.  Height does not affect much this measure. As per the WHO, if you are more than 80cm (women) and 94cm (men) you are at an increased risk of some lifestyle related diseases and hence you are unfit. 
Some other indicators are hereunder:
1.       Body-fat percentage. This is the percentage of your total body weight to the total fat weight in the body. 10-14% is OK  for men, and 14-18% for women.
2.      Aerobic Fitness. It is indicated by the ability to do moderately strenuous activity over a period of time without panting.  It reflects how well your heart and lungs work together to supply oxygen to your body during the exertion. If you can climb a 6 storey building in a fast pace without panting, or, better, raise your heart beat by 25% (if your beat is 70 raise it to 87-90 by running or brisk walking or cycling and if you can continue doing the exercise at this pace for 5-7 minutes without panting you are fit in this respect. 
3.      Flexibility. You should have the ability to move any joint through its full range of motion. If you do not do flexibility exercises your joints would be stiff and this is obviously a non-fit condition.
4.       Muscle mass.  We require a certain percentage of muscle to stay healthy and this varies from individual to individual. With age we lose muscle mass each year and hence it’s important to do muscle building exercise to keep muscle mass. Sagging skin and flab is an indication of less muscles.
5.      Muscular Endurance The ability to hold a particular position for a sustained period of  time or repeat a movement many times is a measure of this. If you can hold a two-kilogram weight above your head for five minutes or lift the same 20 consecutive times you get a pass mark.
6.      Static balance. This is your ability to maintain control of your body’s center of gravity over your base of support. This ability helps one from toppling over. You may stand on one leg and hold the other leg 1 foot above and note the time you can do so without losing balance. Anything above 60 seconds is a good measure. 

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