We all want to be healthier, but it’s easy to get discouraged when starting a new fitness regimen or trying to lose weight. You can hit weight loss plateaus and feel frustrated when the number on the scale doesn’t go down as fast as you had hoped. But getting in shape isn’t just about a number—it’s about your overall health. It means having more energy AND being able to fit into your favorite jeans. So can we make a pact? Can we all agree that instead of constantly obsessing over those three numbers, we will be PROUD of the positive changes within our body that come from making healthier choices? Don’t let your scale dictate your mood when your health is so much more than a number. Here are six, scale-free ways to measure your health and be proud of your results today.
As we age, the number on the scale seems less relevant than our ability to do more. Strength equals stamina! When you start a new exercise regimen that includes weight training, you want to add muscle. And while that muscle might register on the scale as increased weight and lead you to think you’re not seeing results, you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time—it’s actually the ideal scenario!
Your jeans can fit better, you can have more energy and BE STRONGER, but that number on the scale still might not budge, and that’s okay. When you’re able to do more bicep curls or lift more weight, your body is getting stronger. Let your newfound strength empower you! You can now do MORE with your body than you once could, and that’s amazing!
We’ve all spent money on creams and lotions to make our skin stay looking younger, when younger-looking skin is often a natural byproduct of exercise. When we don’t get enough exercise, it can start to show on our face—literally. Studies have shown that people over 40 who exercise frequently have skin closer in composition to that of 20-and 30-year-olds. When you start to take care of your inner health, it often affects your outer beauty as well. Even having more energy and simply feeling better can make us glow from the inside out—and that’s something to smile about.
3) Resting Heart Rate
Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute when your body is completely at rest. According to the Mayo Clinic, a normal resting heart rate is around 60-100 beats per minute. If yours is within this range, your cardiovascular system is working efficiently and you’re maintaining good heart health—something that can be achieved with increased exercise!
The most ideal time to take your pulse is first thing in the morning. Here’s how to get your resting heart rate:
- Place your hand over your wrist or the carotid artery of your neck to get your pulse.
- Count the number of times your heart beats in 10 seconds; multiply that number by six. This will give you your average BPM or beats per minute.
If your resting heart rate falls within 60-100, you can know you’re doing your body good with frequent exercise. Keep it up!
Related: 7 Steps For Heart Health
Studies have shown that frequent aerobic exercise can lead to a better night sleep, warding off insomnia and boosting your energy levels during the day. While a poor night’s sleep can be caused by many factors such as anxiety, medication, alcohol intake and food choices, if you’re sleeping well that’s a great sign that you’re doing something right by giving your body enough movement during the day. Even a little bedtime yoga can have big sleep benefits.
5) Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can cause a myriad of health problems, from heart disease to stroke. While high blood pressure can stem from many things (genetics, stress, smoking) it can often be improved with exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can help lower blood pressure. Since regular workouts make your heart stronger, the force on your arteries is lessened, which lowers your blood pressure. So If your blood pressure is in the 120/80 range, that’s an excellent sign that your heart is not over-exerting itself to pump blood! You can rest assured that if you’ve lowered your blood pressure or kept it in the normal range, your cardiovascular system has benefitted from your workouts.
Of course we all have days when we don’t get enough sleep or feel worn out from a busy week, but in general, healthy people are able to bounce back, feel good and maintain a fair amount of energy. On your fitness journey, don’t be too hard on yourself—if the number on the scale isn’t moving, consider first how your new, healthier choices are making you feel. Do you have more energy? A more positive mood? At the end of the day, when you start to care for yourself with exercise and healthy choices, you will feel better. And that’s worth more than any number.