How Healthy Are You Right Now?

If you look at what’s being said about fitness and ageing, there seems to be some confusion about what we perceive as healthy and what medical experts consider true health. For many, the definition of health has been revised to mean only the absence of disease. Given the expanding waistline trend in Australia—nearly two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese—debilitating chronic disease is, most certainly, on the rise. 

But the reality is that you cannot assume that you are truly healthy just because you are not obese or haven’t been diagnosed with cancer, type 2 diabetes, or heart disease. Sure, it is good news if you are 40- or 50-something and have not been “diagnosed.” But true health is about so much more than absence of disease. Many people are lulled into a false sense of security. “If I’m not sick, I must be doing things right.” They don’t realize the importance of many of the decisions they’re making about their health. Choices you are making right now can have HUGE implications in the years ahead.

The Health Disconnect

Recently, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada published a report highlighting what it means to be healthy versus fit. Their poll research found that while almost 80 percent of Canadian Boomers think their doctors would rate them as healthy, their self-reported lifestyle choices show otherwise. Eighty-five percent of participants admitted they’re not eating enough fruits or vegetables. Sixty-two percent described themselves as overweight or obese. And, 1 in 5 admitted they didn’t exercise at all. 

To make matters worse, 30% of polled participants described their life as often or always stressful. This means their hormones are out of whack—which increases their chances of cancer and a variety of chronic illnesses. The truly concerning takeaway from this bears repeating—80 percent believe their doctor would rate them as generally in good health, despite the fact that they admit to: 

  • Not moving, being physically active, or exercising like they know they should, and thats why exercise classes for seniors are so important!
  • Not eating like they know they should—openly admitting to not eating fruits and vegetables. 
  • Not managing stress levels. 
  • Carrying excess weight—especially the dangerous fat around the middle. 

That’s a pretty big disconnect! Even more shocking, three-quarters (74%) don’t know they could reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke by up to 80 percent with lifestyle modifications through exercise and nutrition. 

We often fool ourselves—we feel like we’re doing okay since we’re not making trips to the hospital! This leads us to think we’re mostly healthy when perhaps we are not. The real question we should be asking is: “Am I taking care of myself so I can continue to do the things I need to do, like to do, and want to do for the rest of my life?”

This smarter fitness question is the foundation of what we call functional fitness—the idea that our movement routines are keeping us physically fit for all the necessary and desirable functions of life.

Functional Fitness 

Functional fitness is the term we use to describe fitness as it relates to our body’s ability to function, performing the tasks we ask of it. And it’s so much more than what we traditionally think of when it comes to fitness. Basically, Functional Fitness focuses on training for strength to be able to do everyday tasks such as lifting reaching, bending walking and stepping.

Our functional fitness level impacts our ability to continue to enjoy the most important things in life as we get older. Most people think about exercise in its most basic form—as a function of cardio, muscle strength, and weight management. But what we now know about the body is that to be “fit” means so much more than being able to climb stairs and wear the same dress size you did 10 years ago. 

When assessing functional fitness, we measure your power, aerobic energy, balance, response time, joint function, coordination, agility, and more. The goal is to make you better than fit—you need to be functionally fit to ensure that you can do all the things you want to. 

This combined with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, healthy eating and regular exercise can and will deliver for you the fittest version of you that is possible for the rest of your life. You just need to get started!

Remember, like so many things in our lives, life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  And a marathon starts with the first step. Similarly, life is a journey not a destination and renewal at any age starts with the first step. Hopefully, this and our other regular blogs, will provide you with the motivation to take that first step. If you haven’t already found the benefits of eating and exercising for a better and more enriching life, I hope that you will act now.

Whatever your goal is, it needs to be something important to you. At our group fitness classes in Melbourne, we ask that you tell us what that goal is, and we’ll help you get there, step by step. Setting specific goals gives you something to think about and aim for. We have the best gym for over 50s to help you reach your goals and it’s going to be lots of fun! You’re going to make new friends, and we hope you’re going to fall in love with exercise as much as we do. We guarantee you will love the results!