Best way to measure health/wellness

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enigmaT120
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by enigmaT120 »

I did distance events in track in college.

I thought the walking speed for a mile test was kind of funny, since I only walk for transportation and never time myself. If I'm going to exercise I run. Generally around 7 minutes per mile for shorter distances like 5 miles.

I thought one of the comments to the walking article was odd:

"This is an odd test, one mile in 14 minutes is not a walking test, it is running for me, anything less then 17 minutes is running/jogging, my legs just don't go fast enough at a walk for that without resorting to running. To think someone my age can walk that fast without running is very strange. "

You can't run as slow as 17 minutes per mile. It's not running. I've done 10 minute miles running with other people, and if they slow down below that I start walking. Then they get mad.

Regarding an earlier post, I would not wish to be any bigger than I am (5'11", 175 pounds), even if there was no penalty in lifespan. It wouldn't bother me to be smaller. The southeast Asians I work with can do anything I can, even if I am stronger than they are.

Chad
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by Chad »

@bryan
I'm suggesting that being able to run a marathon does not mean you will be fast in the 100 meter. Different skills impact the different events.

I played and coached small college football.

jacob
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by jacob »

enigmaT120 wrote: "This is an odd test, one mile in 14 minutes is not a walking test, it is running for me, anything less then 17 minutes is running/jogging, my legs just don't go fast enough at a walk for that without resorting to running. To think someone my age can walk that fast without running is very strange. "
Yeah, I thought that was weird too. The standard Cooper test is a running test. (How far can you run in 12 minutes? That test is a killer!)

It reminds me of the old speed-walking joke. Speed-walking is similar to having a competition about who can whisper the loudest.

I suspect the walking test is intended for complete couch potatoes. On Sparkspeople, it comes with the following disclaimer: "Execution: We suggest that you DO NOT attempt this test until you are routinely walking for 15 to 20 minutes several times per week." ... because apparently walking an entire mile in one go is really pushing it.

JasonR
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by JasonR »

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Last edited by JasonR on Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by jacob »

http://www.topendsports.com/testing/hea ... -chart.htm

Easier test. You don't even have to leave the couch. In fact, you shouldn't.

Dave
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by Dave »

enigmaT120 wrote:Regarding an earlier post, I would not wish to be any bigger than I am (5'11", 175 pounds), even if there was no penalty in lifespan. It wouldn't bother me to be smaller. The southeast Asians I work with can do anything I can, even if I am stronger than they are.
Agreed, especially in the case of trading a few years of life for attractiveness or more (non-value added*) muscle/strength.

I am 6'2.5". I spent the first part of college at 195 pounds (skinny fat), I did a couple weight-lifting bulk sessions and got to 250 (muscular and fat, but thousand pound club member, woo), and now I am 180 with a lot less muscle than I had at 250, but more than I did at 195.

*In my experience, most additional muscle and strength serve very quickly declining functional value, Pareto consistent. I think most of it is worthless beyond aesthetic or ego purposes, and in fact of negative value when you consider the additional caloric requirements and body wear of sustaining 25+ pounds of additional musculature. I am certainly not saying that it is bad to build muscle, just that I believe many people take it unnecessarily far. I know I did.

In my opinion, strength is more valuable than muscle, and you do not have to be huge to be strong. And further, as Enigma notes above, the vast majority of real life situations you run into do not require unusually high amounts of strength.

Back to the OP, I generally use something like Jacob's list above to assess my health. The health metrics serve a purpose, but in day-to-day life it is also important that I feel well and can accomplish my goals. If I am meeting both medical recommendations and my goals, then I am likely doing well.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@EnigmaT150: Regarding an earlier post, I would not wish to be any bigger than I am (5'11", 175 pounds), even if there was no penalty in lifespan. It wouldn't bother me to be smaller. The southeast Asians I work with can do anything I can, even if I am stronger than they are.
True, but in the West people who are taller make more money and are more likely to be elected President and the reason why that is likely true is the reason why I would choose to stay tall. My push-over-dork personality naturally projects zero authority, so I need all the help I can get. When I was dating Mr. 6'5" who was otherwise also quite badazz in appearance and not inclined to play it down, I would occasionally amuse myself by dressing up in my "badazz" outfit which was shiny black 5 inch Mary Janes, low-slung pin-stripe flare leg trousers and a gray fitted vest, then I'd be doing something like strutting across the floor of a casino with him thinking that maybe I was cool, until I inevitably did something like walk right into a pole. This is why I usually choose to wear something like Keds and overalls, so I guess I don't really want to be any taller either.

Another reason I was thinking about this is that I was watching a group of 5 year olds engaged in a variety of Montessori task such as wiping tables, hauling boxes of milk, updating calendar and filling mailboxes and it occurred to me that a lot more people could be supported on the planet if everybody was the size of a kindergarten student, and almost everybody would be able to climb the jungle gym with ease! I was a very skinny kind of hyper kid, so I used to love flipping all over the monkey bars, but puberty put an end to that for me (sigh.) Still, I wouldn't want to be that tiny again.

@JasonR:

Interesting. I would first note that I am usually half writing with the intended tone of an article in the Onion whenever I take on the role of Dr. Ruth-as-economist. The studies I have read previously indicated that frequency did correlate with longevity for men, but quality of encounter was more correlated with longevity for women. However, what constitutes a "quality" encounter for a woman has not yet been fully revealed by the tools of science. OTOH, my ex-husband is an absolutely miserable-sob (kind of like a cross between Van Gogh and Bill Burr) with or without me in his life (although I do give him credit for the intelligence, self-awareness and sense of humor to be willing to openly admit it.) and choosing to divorce him was one of the best decisions of my adult life. I would estimate that I will live at least 4.7 more years of happy days due to making that decision, so I think the research in that book must be fairly accurate.

jacob
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by jacob »

JasonR wrote:I didn't post my burpee numbers because I didn't want to shame Jacob.
Ha! I'm an old man now. Just turned 40, so go ahead. If you beat me, I will of course beat you ;-P

zarathustra
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by zarathustra »

Here's a really interesting episode of Barbell Shrugged where they talk with Professor/Dr. Andy Galpin about how new research is showing the key indicator of longevity and quality of life in old age is no longer VO2 max, but LEG STRENGTH!

Also there's lots of interesting info about the importance of muscle and strength building in here too:

http://daily.barbellshrugged.com/3-thin ... ut-muscle/

7Wannabe5
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@zarathustra:

Interesting article. When I was 40, I was still of the camp that losing 10 lbs. of fat might be the best thing I could do for my health/appearance. Now that I am 50, I am much more concerned with maintaining or, if possible, gaining the meat. All the time I see affluent white women in their 60s and 70s who are well within the BMI guidelines but their centers are wide and their butts are flat and their limbs are becoming increasingly frail and their hair is cut and arranged in a manner to hide the fact that it is thinning. Zero percent difficulty projecting forward to the hip fracture in their future. Hormones and meat, that is what you have to focus on if you are a female over 50. I didn't exactly thrill to the fact that somebody I found attractive recently referred to me as a Big Polish Girl as he was attempting to get into my shirt, but, IMO, it beats the alternative. And, I will also state for the record that if you are around 40 and you think that you don't care about wrinkles and/or general loss of skin tone, then I will talk with you again in 10 or 20 years ; ) I don't really abide by the notion that "fat don't crack" , but maintaining the muscle on your calves might help a bit in preventing a future that includes droopy skin socks around your ankles. Also, I would note for the fellas that the usual progress of decay in your gender is abs and chest then butt then legs. If you want to be the 70 year old guy with good aerobic capacity but some little wrinkle pouches hanging behind your junk where your butt used to be then be all means chill on the strength training.

jacob
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by jacob »

@zarathustra - Researchers have increasingly turned their attention on "old" athletes, meaning people who actually keep performing after age 50 ... While there is a decline, it's very small (about 10%/decade) meaning that you can beat 30-40yo potatoes well into your 60s and 70s. This goes for muscle volume as well as VO2max. Rather than debating which is better, just do the upkeep on both. What's the use of muscles if you can't fuel them at spec? What's the use of VO2max if you don't have any muscles to fuel at spec?

bryan
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by bryan »

also, resting heart rate is probably a really simple test you can take :)

7Wannabe5
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Honestly, I still think there's a lot of genetic luck of the draw going on with aerobic capacity because my resting heart rate is consistently quite low (58-62) and pretty much all I have done for fitness for the past 10-15 years (since I've been mostly self-employed and able to mostly schedule my own days) is around an hour of very moderate (nothing that makes me sweat or unable to converse) exercise most days. Or maybe really pushing it doesn't make that much difference over the long run?

zarathustra
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by zarathustra »

@jacob - yeah but supposedly there is such a strong correlation between the leg muscle and the VO2 max and that is why for a long time they thought it was the VO2 max (according to this person). (for those that didn't listen to the podcast, cross-country skiers are your fittest lot!)

as for me, for the last year I have been training in powerlifting using Wendler's 5/3/1 program (just the squat, deadlift, bench, & overhead press) w/ some assistance lifts like RDLs, front squats, hip thrusts, pull ups, and mobility work PLUS cycling for transport as well as cycling for exercise (1-2.5 hours) once or twice a week. and some hiking in there, I suppose, when I get a ride from someone else going. every now and then I do 100 burpees in a day by splitting them up (2 sets of 50). I do these comfortably. I find that I am able to maintain my fitness when I travel and don't do much for a week to a month.

jacob
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by jacob »

@zarathustra - One thing to keep in mind wrt these studies is that there's a stronger correlation between people from the same activity group (athlete, fitness enthusiast, weekend-warrior, couch potato) than there is between people from the same age group. A 60 year old athlete will have more markers in common with a 40 year old athlete than with another 60 year old jogger.

A lot of these studies pick people from the same age group but randomly from the activity-level group. Since there aren't many athletes left even after age 30---a high level of physical fitness is just not a priority anymore in this culture---they need massive sample sizes to capture the few athletes left. Whereas usually they can't afford to test so many people. And if they can, the signal is lost in the noise (type II).

I'm not saying that the result is useless. Well, I guess I'm not saying that it's useless in general. Just that being in the athlete or fitness group would likely mean that one has both better VO2max and better leg strength.---That is, unless one specializes completely, e.g. ultra-running or max squat competitions.

Put it another way ... that a correlation exists on the population level does not imply that it still exists at the conditioned sample level.

The conclusion I derive is that it's better to focus on which is the healthiest group (athlete, fitness, ... potato) and in that group ... if health is important, which ones are the healthiest. E.g. we do know that long distance runners and cross country people (high VO2max) do tend to fall over from albeit typically nonlethal heart attacks at a too young age [compared with random people at the same age]. Although the data is less solid on powerlifters (massive leg strength), they do seem to have a similar affliction.

1taskaday
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by 1taskaday »

Just saw a photo of Art de Vany on his website at 78 yrs,taken recently.
He is my role model for health as I age.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

So, which group is healthier, fitness enthusiasts or people who engage in a good deal of regular moderate exercise and some manual labor? IOW, convince me that I should push myself beyond the level of an hour of water aerobics/light strength training most days, walking for transportation and digging garden pits as necessary if my resting pulse at age 50 is 58, and the two physical activities I most enjoy and hope to continue into my 80s require good knees. It is also possible that I might be convinced to lower my BMI if I am presented with compelling evidence that it is a better indicator for a middle-aged woman (estrogen protection a factor) than waist-to-hip/height ratios. Otherwise, I shall carry on with my current Big Polish Girl practice, since it seems to afford me both the ability and the luxury of mostly doing most of what I want to do.

1taskaday
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by 1taskaday »

At 47,my first aim through my excercise/fitness routines is PAIN-FREE.

Is it my imagination or has every second person now days either neck/back/shoulder or hip pain? (Even people in their 30's!!!).

Listening to people moaning about their aches and pains is so frustrating especially when they do nothing to try and help themselves.Usually they want to pop a pill and make the pain magically disappear.

Sorry but not to generalize (but I'm going to anyway),men seem to be the greatest moaners as they age-God protect me from "Grumpy old men".

Chronic pain/aches drain a person of energy and vitality.

It should be the first aim of any fitness routine or measurement of wellness-do you suffer from chronic restricting pain anywhere in the body?If yes fix that first!

7Wannabe,Manual labour is surely as good or if not better than strength training-even more enjoyable if done outside.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@1taskaday:

I agree with you about the chronic pain and aches. Next on the list, and not unrelated, would be the ability to fall asleep easily and sleep soundly. I was so busy last month doing things I really wanted to do, I found that sometimes I would just come home, topple over and fall asleep on the carpeted floor next to the very low table where I work on my laptop. Then I would wake up and do the next thing. I don't know what the right word for that is. Like I would be thinking, "I'm not 22, so I don't have the stamina to chase 5 year olds all day, walk everywhere I go, maintain 3 gardens, do water aerobics every evening, and date 3 men." but then I would get up again and keep on trying. Like even though I was never pushing myself so completely in the moment, like when I used to run, I was still "wrecking" myself or maybe more like "using myself up" with my overall lifestyle. So, I'm thinking something like "ability to fall asleep on a cement pad" might be a good indicator of overall health and fitness.

enigmaT120
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Re: Best way to measure health/wellness

Post by enigmaT120 »

It probably depends on the manual labor. Some jobs are very repetitive and don't involve much of the body except what is directly involved, and many others (splitting wood for most people*) aren't symmetrical. On my vacation days when I'm thinning trees -- falling, bucking, limbing, and yarding -- I certainly don't feel any need to lift weights. I use a chain saw for falling and bucking, but hand tools or just hands for the rest. But when I get home from my mostly sedentary job and it's dark, I can't do that so I work out on my $75 garage sale Soloflex. Boring, but it keeps me from hurting myself when I do have real work to do.


* Now you guys have me doing this... this summer I started experimenting with splitting wood from both sides so that my left arm could get more of a workout from lifting my freaking heavy monster mall and aside from the obvious initial lack of precision it seemed to work OK. But there was a big strength difference at first, even allowing for how often I missed when starting to use my left arm more.

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