I recently saw an ad stating the obvious: “Know Your Numbers,” relating to blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI, etc. Most healthcare providers are sending this same message to the people they insure to help reduce their rising medical costs.
In spite of this seemingly sound advice, the fact remains that general health trends in America are in steep decline. This poses a serious threat to our way of life and economic security. That’s the bad news, however the good news is we can still do something about it.
Just knowing these specific numbers doesn’t really address the problem. This is the way our medical model has worked for years and it has failed miserably. Knowing “the numbers” has really become more about disease management, selling more prescription drugs, and less about prevention.
On the other hand, if there were more qualified personal trainers or health educators, community-based wellness programs, and daily physical education was reinstated in all of our K-12 schools, we would rarely need to be talking about “the numbers” at all because we know “prevention is the answer” — and you can be part of the solution.
Thankfully, medical groups are now beginning to acknowledge the “Exercise is Medicine” message championed by the American College of Sports Medicine, Cooper Institute, Medical Fitness Association and others.
So, let’s redefine the numbers and focus on “healthy lifestyles.” Let’s talk about blood pressure in the context of how exercise and proper nutrition helps to control weight and normalize blood pressure. Let’s explain how accurate estimates of body fat are more reliable than a generalized BMI measurement which has been marginally useful and often very misleading. Let’s talk about safe and effective heart rate training to improve V02 scores for increased aerobic capacity, fat loss and a more efficient metabolism. Let’s talk specifically about strength and flexibility training to build metabolically active muscle tissue for improved performance in our daily activities, and to prevent exercise related injuries.
Now, I do understand that most trainers talk about these numbers — however many do not consistently measure them in order to:
- Establish proper client baselines for successful goal setting.
- Use these numbers to create the best practices in their fitness programming.
- Track client progress regularly for increased motivation, compliance and retention.
- Enhance their professionalism with quality fitness and wellness assessment service offerings to establish more general/medical referrals in their respective communities.
It’s impossible to go completely in-depth on the key points raised in this brief article — but there is a big opportunity here for clubs and trainers to make an impact on their client’s health, and I encourage you to look more into the matter.
Rob Rideout is Vice President / Co-founder of MicroFit, Inc. He can be reached at Rob@MicroFit.com or visit www.microfit.com.