Monday, August 19, 2013

Measurable Returns

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” ― Herophilus 
I went in to my primary care physician's office for a check up a few days ago.  I knew that my weight loss could only be a good thing, but I didn't expect to see changes in other measurable ways as well.

For example the last time I was in, my blood pressure was 132/84--which isn't a horrible number, but not exactly great either.  This time it was 114/70--a number I'm actually a bit proud of considering the stress of my job, parenting, and upcoming life changes.

Last time (although I don't remember specific break down numbers) my total cholesterol was in the 190ish range.  Again, not scary, but not fabulous either.  This time my total cholesterol was 139, the Mayo Clinic says that less than 200 is desirable.  My HDL is 49 which is in the "better" category (>60 is desirable).  My LDL is 79, <100 is ideal for someone at risk for heart disease, <70 is ideal for someone at high risk for heart disease.  My triglycerides were 57, <150 is desirable.

It's nice to see numerical data to back up what I feel.  Because overall I feel much healthier than I did just 5 weeks ago when I started counting/restricting calories and running again.

So if you're just getting started, or looking for a reason to get started, the above data shows that even 35 days of healthy eating and exercise can seriously and measurably impact your health.

There is still room for improvement.  I'd like to lose at least another 30 lbs, and possibly more.  I'd like to see my HDL >60.  I'd like to see my LDL <70 because being adopted I know very little about my familial risk factors.  There is a chance that I'm at a high genetic risk for heart disease.

Regardless, the sum of those improving numbers I hope equals added years of healthy living with my wife and kids.  It also helps ensure that I don't become one of the statistics at work with an MI and bypass surgery in my 40s.  Because take it from me--I see it every day at work--heart surgery sucks. 

What health benefits have you realized from running and getting fit?