How does it feel to be fit? How do you know if you’re fit or not?
We tend to define fitness on two levels. First impression is based on looks, and does carry some weight, as healthy appearance and muscular trim arguably point to the right direction.
Beyond the surface, we typically look into exercise habits. How often and for how long a person tends to exercise, and how tired he or she is as a result, is a clear measure of endurance.
A closer look into fitness reveals two areas that should both be looked at for a comprehensive view:
Cardiovascular fitness determines how long we are able to keep on exercising, and vice versa: regular exercise positively affects blood supply and physical endurance. Improved cardiovascular fitness means longer-lasting exercise with a reduced heart rate.
Speed, intensity and precision of our muscular activity directly depend on to the ability of our nerves to convey signals to and from our brain. The practical implication is how accurately we can perform tasks that require speed, strength, skill and coordination.
Heart rate monitors are highly beneficial for managing exercise load and for following progress. Using a wrist monitor to keep the heart rate within a certain range during exercise helps reach the desired objectives, while the ability to run, walk or bike on a steady pace with a lower heart rate than before is a clear sign of improved fitness.
A newer method of analyzing heart rate is called heart rate variability (HRV). Although it is debatable how much additional information the new method really brings compared to the mean heart rate, a clear benefit comes from how HRV devices are used. A resting-state measure recorded every morning brings data that is different from data gathered during exercise.
However, trusting HRV alone may lead to too intensive training while muscles are still stressed out from earlier exercise. It seems that HRV assessment results are very sensitive to factors such as fluid balance and stress level, and may not alert of signs of illnesses early enough.
At Checkmylevel, we’re taking the neuromuscular route. The method is focused on the state of the peripheral nervous system, which carries signals to and from the central nervous system and other parts of our body. The method brings access to very accurate and real-time information about the bodily state.
Having said all this, let’s conclude by making things simple: the way you feel about yourself is a pretty accurate measure of your fitness level. Different sorts of measurement devices are often fun, rewarding and useful, but only critical to professional and semi-professional athletes.