Are you considering starting a fitness program? Have you recently set health and fitness goals that require you to take your fitness to a new level? Or are you “off the couch” and interested in finally making health goals! Regardless of your goals, it’s always a good idea to get a baseline health assessment before you start a fitness program.
When you conduct a health assessment you’re going to look at a few different data points. You’ll explore all of the important numbers. For example, in conjunction with your health care provider it’s a good idea to get your blood pressure, cholesterol, pulse, weight, height and other relevant information. These data points can immediately let you know where you are in terms of general health. They provide a starting point to measure some of your health success as well.
For example, if you have high blood pressure then in many cases you can reduce that blood pressure through diet and exercise. When you return for your next exam you’ll have your blood pressure taken again and you’ll be able to evaluate your progress. So your initial set of numbers provides a benchmark to measure against.
Other information can provide benchmarks for you as well. You may want to test yourself on a few different exercises. For example, how fast can you run a mile? How many push-ups can you do in a minute? How many sit-ups can you do in a minute? Can you touch your toes when standing?
Finally, if you are starting a program to lose weight then you may want to measure your waist circumference as well as your hips, thighs, and chest. This is important because in the beginning of many strength training and CrossFit programs you may find that you’re not actually losing weight. This is because you’re building muscle, and muscle is heavier than fat. What you will find, however, is that as you’re building muscle you’re probably losing inches in your key fat storage areas. The only way you’ll know this, however, is to measure yourself before you begin a fitness program.
The health assessment gives you a starting point and it’s important to keep this in mind – a starting point is nothing more than something to measure your progress by. If you cannot do a single push-up in a minute right now, who cares?
Next month, or even next week, you’ll be able to do one, and then two, and then twenty. The assessment and benchmarks simply help you, your doctor, and your coach create a fitness program that is designed to provide you with the most benefit.