Terms like blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate are common when talking about health. We have been taught over and over again to measure the readings for these biometrics, and how important it is to keep those readings within “healthy” ranges. But what if biometrics are not the most important thing to consider when it comes to your health?
Well this is exactly the case. Biometrics are an indirect way of measuring someone’s health. For instance, let’s imagine we take a healthy 20-something year old who has very little plaque buildup in their arteries. You would expect them to have a normal heart rate and blood pressure, that is to say their readings for these biometrics fall within healthy ranges. But now if you take them into the middle of an enclosed arena and unleash a bull in there with them, you’re going to see the person’s heart rate and blood pressure go way off the charts, even if they’re simply standing still! The moral of this story is that although biometrics do give us some idea of a person’s health, (I’m not advocating for the abolishment of blood pressure cuffs or anything like that) they are still not the most precise way of measuring it. In some cases there are factors that cause someone’s biometric readings to not line up exactly with their actual state of health. Or, they could simply be on medication that keeps them within healthy ranges artificially which gives a false sense of being healthy.
So if biometrics aren’t the best option for measuring health, what is? Well, how about grip strength? Did I lose anybody out there? Here are two articles discussing some recent research findings that found that grip strength may actually be a better indicator of your overall health than blood pressure and other biometrics:
- Grip Strength Predicts Death Risk Better Than Blood Pressure
- Getting A Grip: The strength of your handshake predicts the length of your life
It’s not a mystery here folks, what we’re talking about is fitness. Your levels of fitness are better indicators of your health levels than any biometric could ever hope to be. Crossfit founder Greg Glassman highlights this point brilliantly in his talk below. (Just a note that the video is almost an hour long, and although the whole thing has some excellent information, Greg really gets into the health stuff around 21:00)
So if you really want to improve your health focus on improving each component of what makes up fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, coordination, reaction time, balance, agility, speed and power. Each component of fitness can be measured, and what can be measured can also be improved. The personal trainers at Function Health Club located in Vancouver can measure each component of your fitness to get baseline measures of where you’re currently at. Once baseline measures have been determined our personal trainers can help you set goals for each component. Slow, steady improvements in the measurement of these fitness components will go a long way to lowering your disease risk and improving your overall health and well-being. To learn more about our personal training service please click here.
Besides being a regular contributor to the Function Health Club blog, Jeff Doyle is also the co-owner of Function Health Club as well as a Personal Trainer, BCRPA Trainer of Fitness Leaders, Agatsu Kettlebell Instructor and Older Adult Wellness Practitioner. He also has a Bachelor of Human Kinetics. You can contact Jeff directly at firstname.lastname@example.org