Last month I did my best to champion an office “Measure the Miles” challenge and quickly found that I do not move nearly as much as I should. My days working as a floor nurse in the hospital gave me 8000+ steps without any additional effort. In a primary care office, not so much.
I frequently talk about raising awareness because without that we don’t have data showing us if we are in a good place, a bad place, or somewhere in between. I found I am closer to bad than good.
If we are able, we should move more than we don’t move. Moving is important because the only other thing we can do to reduce our weight is to eat less. The physical activity involved in moving also benefits our cardiovascular health.
I feel a lot of people think being lazy is easy. It really isn’t. At some point, usually in early adulthood, we lose the ability to blitz a bottomless buffet of buffalo chicken wings and maintain or even lose weight. Weight is heavy and we have to carry it everywhere. The heavier we get the more conditions we can develop over time; diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, loss of endurance, increased risk of injury, increased strain on our joints and spine, reduction in sex drive, impotence, sleep apnea, depression, and the list goes on. Are these really easy to deal with?
How can we raise our awareness to know if we are a healthy weight? The US National Institute of Health (NIH) has us covered with a body mass indicator (BMI) calculator. The higher our BMI the greater the risk for health issues.
- Underweight – Below 18.5
- Normal – 18.6-24.9
- Overweight – 25-29.9
- Obese – 30 and above
“Now Nurse David, (enter world-class athlete’s name) is overweight according to this BMI Calculator, so how accurate can it really be?”
Are you a world-class athlete? No? Then it’s accurate enough for us “normies.”
Full disclosure, my BMI is currently 24.3. I have a digital scale that measures my body fat, bone mass, water, and muscle percentages. Before my morning shower, I get on the scale naked as a jaybird and that is my true weight.
If we measure our daily steps or weight we will get data that will tell us if we are in a good place with our physical activity or if we need to make some adjustments. Increasing physical activity can literally be walking up and down one flight of stairs or going out to the end of the driveway and back. As long as we gradually increase our activity we will move closer to health than further away.
I purchased a bicycle from Priority Bicycles and started commuting to work one day a week. When it’s nice after work, I cruise around town wearing my gold bike helmet casually turning my heads and saying, “caio” to all the people I pass. I’m losing weight, I’m sleeping better, and I have more energy. Good times.