Author Topic: Health and fitness levels?  (Read 649 times)

Health and fitness levels?
« on: April 15, 2019, 10:05:37 am »
Is there a way to compare your health and fitness against say a national average? How can you tell if you're doing enough to keep healthy? Do you perceive yourself to be above or below average health and fitness levels? Obviously age must be adjusted for or it'll be pointless.

I doubt there's a way to work this out but it's kind of my way. At work it's partly my job to look at where we are and how we're doing against where we need to be. I'm kind of looking at my life the same way. Kind of benchmarking health.

I guess it's the forties kind of the time you're realising things are going to change healthwise. It is when any health condition isn't unusual but just a sign of your age. It's like risk of bowel cancer in your 60s is more likely age related than genetic related. That's different to if you get it in your 30s or 40s.l

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Health and fitness levels?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 01:41:22 pm »
When I ride with my heart rate monitor, my Garmin will tell me that I'm burning (typically) 600 calories an hour.  When I ride without my heart rate monitor, it tells me that I'm burning (typically) 900 calories an hour.  I'm fortunate enough to have a medical where my V02 max (one measure of endurance fitness) is measured, and that factor of 1.5 is quite close to the ratio between my VO2 Max and the average general public. 

That might be one way of measuring fitness as a benchmark, without the need for labtests.  I'm also aware that there are other standard tests such as the ramp test for measuring fitness, but I've not had to suffer any of those.
Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 168 (metric) 518 (furlongs)  111 (nautical miles)

Re: Health and fitness levels?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 02:33:40 pm »
I use a tracker with GPS when commuting but the newer trackers have stress and vo2max estimations included. Perhaps get one and see what that's like.

I used to do the rockport walking vo2max test. It's an approximation for your measure based on walking a mile at eye fastest pace you can. I did it on a treadmill. Not easy as my at pace stride length is close to treadmill lengths, running  on them has to be precise or I'll run off he front or get kicked off the back.

Can't remember the figure I got but for my age range the table described it as excellent (top category). I was a keen challenge walker so could walk over 4mph average up and down hills for about 16 miles before I'd start to slow a bit (never below 3.3mph up to 50 miles that is). For the rockport test my pace was a higher still, you'd be surprised at what pace it's possible up walk at with practise.

Anyway my reading for that will be a lot lower now I reckon.

So fitness is easy but how about health? How can you benchmark health?

Re: Health and fitness levels?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2019, 06:07:37 pm »
Do you know the usual markers the NHS likes to use?

BMI
Blood pressure
Resting HR
Fasted glucose
Fasted Cholesterol

Are they in what we are told are the healthy ranges?  If you are in your  40s and not done the healthy 40 checkup at your GP then suggest you make an appointment. They test for all the above and you get the chance to discuss family history. 

The Rockport walking vo2 test is only really meant for sedentary people. If you have any modicum of fitness it is far from accurate.

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

  • Miles eaten don't satisfy hunger
  • 3x Brimstone ancien 3x Pendle/Tan Hill DNF
    • CET Ride Reports and Blogs
Re: Health and fitness levels?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2019, 10:12:50 pm »
Some of these need to be taken with a pinch of salt (whoops that’s bad).  If you are a cyclist with thunder thighs then you can reach obese but still have fat levels below the unsafe level.  My cholesterol is high but that’s because I have shed loads of good cholesterol from all the exercise I do
Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 168 (metric) 518 (furlongs)  111 (nautical miles)

Re: Health and fitness levels?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2019, 10:16:36 pm »
I've had the check up. Strange appointment with a nurse. A computer programme with the questions with tab after tab of questions. It kind of went like this...
Q1 Do you smoke?
A1 No, never

Move to second tab as other questions not relevant.

Q2 How much do you drink a week?
A2 I don't drink every week, at most a beer every two weeks or month.

All other questions grey out, move to next tab or was it the last question I can't remember.

It was a half hour slot but I read out on 10 minutes even with all the blood samples taken.

I couldn't get to see the results. The best I got was a couple of figures for cholesterol from the receptionist after I pressed for some information.

I don't think bmi is a good measure personally but I'm in the bottom half of what's acceptable. Cholesterol is above the recommended level but the mixes between the good and bad cholesterol was very good meaning I'm high because of high levels of good cholesterol and low in bad. Blood pressure is OK but to the top end with one measure and slap bang in the middle of ok range for the higher figure. I get the same reading at the doctor's and at home these days which isn't typical. Most tables of BP give a higher ok range for readings taken at the doctors than home measurement. I think the health check had a fasted glucose check but I didn't get anything back about it other than everything was OK, cholesterol results and nothing else. TBH I just figured out anything was concerning then they'd pull me in for an appointment. No appointment I'm OK.

As far as my query goes I really just wondered if there was something anyone could do for themselves to benchmark their health against others in their age range. Also with fitness. What's a normal level for different ages? I imagine if you're 70 and running marathons you're fitter than average. But if your 30 and capable of cycling 10 miles in 40 minutes are you average?

Re: Health and fitness levels?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2019, 11:26:44 pm »
What health measures would you be bench marking?  I can't think of any other measures the NHS collects at population level.  GP visits is not necessarily a measure of someone's health unless those visits are for chronic conditions.  If 95% (made up number)  of 40 year olds do not have any chronic health conditions how does that help you manage you current and future health?

To bench mark health you'd have to define what you mean by health and then you'd have to measure it. Then if you wanted to compare you'd have to measure it across a statistically meaningful cross section of the population.  Then you'd may want to measure it over a number of years  across that cross section. But if you want to understand changes in health of that population what other things would you want to capture to understand why?

What's your definition of health? What would be your bench marks and why?

Re: Health and fitness levels?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2019, 08:29:19 am »
Agree re definition.

If health is absence of things which are not healthy, then a large proportion of the population would be at 100% at 20 years old.  But that % would gradually decrease as conditions emerge with age that require medication.  However, one can be perfectly healthy with a successfully medicated condition.

Re: Health and fitness levels?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2019, 09:14:40 am »
I'm not sure how old you are, but the VTTA have a "standards" competition, where your time is subtracted from a "Standard" time based on your age. So if you do TTs, you could compare your results to the standard and see how you compare. More information here: https://www.vtta.org.uk/content/0-standards
Obviously, this is hugely dependant on course and kit - a slow course on a road bike vs a fast course on a well set up TT bike probably has a difference of 4 minutes for a 10.

That's the only benchmark I'm aware of for cycling fitness as you age.

Re: Health and fitness levels?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2019, 10:47:23 am »
Agree re definition.

If health is absence of things which are not healthy, then a large proportion of the population would be at 100% at 20 years old.  But that % would gradually decrease as conditions emerge with age that require medication.  However, one can be perfectly healthy with a successfully medicated condition.

This is so true. Unfortunately there are official gold stars to be won for reaching the age of 85 without taking any regular medication, as the disbelief of the ambulance service operator when an acquaintance rang them to report his chest pain attests. No wonder people tend to automatically associate long-term meds with "ill-health".

Kim

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Re: Health and fitness levels?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2019, 10:54:39 am »
No wonder people tend to automatically associate long-term meds with "ill-health".

To the point where some of them will, in all seriousness, suggest that your chronic condition might improve if you took less medication.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Health and fitness levels?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2019, 04:20:45 pm »
No wonder people tend to automatically associate long-term meds with "ill-health".

To the point where some of them will, in all seriousness, suggest that your chronic condition might improve if you took less medication.
Ah, the homoeopathic approach to medicine.