I just have to share this because I’m so excited!
As part of my healthy for life focus, I’ve got myself an exercise physiologist. She helps me by giving me a program of weights and stretches that is customised for me. I have a number of stretches I do every day, and a weights program I follow at the gym 2-3 times a week.
Some of my goal is to shed kilos, but my main goal is to be fit and healthy – and strong – as I age. Strong bones and muscles are essential as you get older as they can stop nasty things happening – like a hip breaking then falling over (people think it happens the other way around, but often an older person’s bones are just too brittle to hold them up and they snap.) I really don’t want that happening to me!
Anyway, like I said, I have a program I follow. My beloved laminated each of the individual exercises/stretches for me, and I looped them onto a key ring and carabiner so I could keep them with me when I travel. Pretty nifty huh!
Because healthy weight (not weight LOSS) is my goal, I have been thinking about the best measurements to use to track my progress. (Our brains are wired to want to find what we lose – maybe that’s why so many diets – about 95% – fail.)
The scales can be useless. Women sometimes retain water, which shows up on the scales and makes them seem heavier than they really are. I have even seemed to put on 2 kilos in a 24 hour period – which is pretty ridiculous really! The other thing to remember is that muscle is denser than fat – so as you strengthen your muscles, it can appear you are putting on weight, where what’s really happening is you are getting stronger.
So I look for other measurements. Such as measuring my waist, hips, upper arms and thighs. These have seen a decrease in the last six months, with my waist being 3 centimetres smaller than it was last October – a really good start. (By the way, this photo is not me, mine are below.)
Another measurement I use is the rowing machine. I row as fast as I can on setting 5 for 250 meters. In the last four months I have shaved 8 seconds off my row – going from 116 seconds to 108 (most recently again this morning. I have reached 106 once too – but really need repeated achievements before I use it as a new benchmark.)
But even better for me is my flexibility is improving. And the best measurement for that is putting on a gym bra. I don’t know about you, but my gym bras just seem to be tighter around the chest than my other bras, so I usually do them up at my front, then twist them around so the catch is at the back. Twice in the last few days I’ve been able to reach around and do my bra up at the back! (I wear these bras when I’m going to run on the treadmill as I’ve not found a sports crop top-style that keeps me from bouncing.)
So there you are. Some tips on how to measure your success.
Here is a before and after photo of me. If you look carefully in the ‘before’ photo, you’ll see my very large middle.
Other measurements, thanks to the gizmo my exercise physiologist has, are my body fat reduction (down 1.4%), and my blood pressure – down from 132/84 (which isn’t too bad really) to 102/74 – hit that one right out of the ballpark!
So when you are working to achieve your goals, think carefully about the measures of success you’ll use, and choose a variety so you don’t get hooked on just one, as this can bring your mood down, and affect your motivation, if you don’t see a change.
Until next week,