• Rob Olson

The Other Aspects of Health

We all join CrossFit to be healthy. While individual goals vary, most think fat loss and muscle gain. Those are both great goals, and most important for long-term health. If you are obese, your health prognosis is not good unless you drastically change some habits. If you are not active and have limited muscle mass, how enjoyable will retirement be?

The purpose of this blog is to bring light to topics which aren't often in the limelight. There is so much more to "health" than just weight loss and muscle gain. After all, that which you focus on gets attention, so my hope is after seeing this list you focus on one or more and are able to see some improvements!

*This list is in not particular order*

1) Digestive health

Do you have any of the following? Bloating? Constipation? Diahrrea? Gas?

Many of these are related to what you are eating. A few of the most common culprits: processed food, poor quality food, unbalanced meals (100% carbs?), and having a food allergy and not knowing about it.

What to do about it?

- Talk to the CrossFit Simsbury Nutrition Coach

- Get food allergy tests done

- Try eating more probiotic foods (yogurt, kombucha, etc)

- Ensure you are drinking enough water

2) Resting Heart Rate

This can be measured two ways.

First, with a heart rate monitor such as FitBit, Whoop, or your fitness heart rate strap.

Second, old school with your finger on your wrist to feel the pulse.

How many times does it beat in 60 seconds? You want to measure this before you get out of bed in the morning.

A good resting heart rate is 60.

A really fit resting heart rate is 40.

A not-good resting heart rate is 80.

The lower it is, the more efficient your heart is and the better your cardiovascular fitness.

What to do about it?

- If you sense something is not right, contact your primary care doctor

- If you think its ok but want to improve it, do more fitness

** Also worth noting, your resting heart rate is also a function of how recovered you are. For instance, I track my RHR every day, and I know that if it is 40, I am fully recovered, its its 46 I am semi-recovered, and if its 50 or higher I need to take a day off to allow my body to recover. **

3) Sleep

How much do you sleep? Is it quality sleep?

You've heard it before, and I'm going to repeat it - the goal is 7 hours of sleep, MINIMUM, every night. If you get less than that, you are literally doing yourself a disservice. Sleep is when your body repairs itself, memories are made, and growth hormone is released. Sleep is the single best thing you can do to improve your recovery, mood, and daily energy.

Secondary to quantity is quality. If you sleep 7 hours, but you toss and turn all night, that is no good, your body is not repairing itself as it should. Investigate why you may not be sleeping well - stress? alcohol? caffeine? old lumpy bed?

What to do about it:

- Prioritize sleep. Shut the TV off and head to bed. That extra episode of Chicago Fire is not helping you.

- Get a new bed

- Adpot a healthy pre-bed routine (relax, read, calm down)

- No TV/laptop/tablet/phone is the bedroom. They all emit blue light which interferes with sleep quality.

4) Libido

Oh yea, I went there. Low libido? Likely your hormones are off. Biggest culprit is cortisol, the stress hormone. We all experience times of stress, but it should not be prolonged if at all possible. Find a way to destress, relax, and bring balance to your life.

What to do about it

- Find a way to relax (yoga, going for walks, reading, etc)

- Get your hormones checked by your primary care doctor or they even have kits they can send to your house nowadays

- Improve your diet

** Hormones take a long time to get thrown off, and also take a long time to come back to normal. No quick fixes here **

5) Blood Pressure

Most only get this checked during your yearly physical. You do get your yearly physical done ... right?

Poor diet, lack of exercise, and stress can increase your blood pressure. Not good.

Target: Most adults 120/80

What to do about it:

- Improve your nutrition

- Workout more

- Reduce stress

6) Bone Density

This is a big topic with anyone 60 years and older. As we age, most lose bone density, and are more prone to breaking bones. The last thing you want is to fall when you are 85 and break a hip.

Good news - guess what improves bone density?

Lifting weights and jumping (box jumps, jump rope, etc)

Testing bone density can only be done by your doctor.

What to do about it:

- Lift weights and do jumping exercises (impact loading)

- Make sure you have a good diet with calcium and vitamin D

- If you are concerned about your bones, contact your doctor

This list is not all-incluse. There are dozens of more things you can track relating to your health. I encourage you track them just like you track your back squat PR. Also worth noting, many of these can be intertwined: For example, if you have a poor diet, that can cause your homones to be off balance, which makes you feel more stressed, which makes you sleep less, which lowers your libido. Talk about a black hole of negative health effects. Good news is they are all fixed by improving your diet.

Pay attention to the smaller details. The goal is progress not perfection. Small health improvements every month over the course of several years result in some pretty amazing improvements!

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