Your BMI is based on your height and weight. It’s one way to see if you’re at a healthy weight. BMI is a relatively straightforward equation that measures a person’s body fat by comparing their weight to their height: [(Weight in pounds) / (Height in inches) (Height in inches)] x 703.
BMI is general formula and one of the formula’s obvious flaws, is that it has no way of discriminating between fat and muscle. Another issue is gender. The initial research and studies used data created from research on male populations. An entirely different formula was originally used for determining obesity in female populations, and yet, doctors now use the same equation for both genders. The truth is, people know if they’re overweight; so be your own judge. Look in the mirror, monitor your jeans size, and talk to your doctor.
There are four different categories a person can fall into, ranging from underweight to obese:
- Underweight: BMI is less than 18.5
- Healthy weight: BMI is 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight: BMI is 25 to 29.9
- Obese: BMI is 30 or higher
Tips for including more physical activity in your day
Increases in daily activity can come from small changes made throughout your day – they all add up. You can accumulate your 30 minutes (or more) of physical activity for health throughout the day by combining a few shorter sessions of activity of around 10 to 15 minutes each.
To make a habit out of increasing activity in your day, you can:
- Take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Park further away from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
- Walk or cycle instead of using the car for short trips.
- Take your dog (or a neighbor’s dog) for a walk.
- Walk rather than rest on escalators or elevators.
- Get off the bus/train/tram one or two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.
- Work in the garden.
- Play with children in an active way.
- Catch up with friends by walking together rather than going for coffee.
- Try a new sport or go back to one you have played before.
- Do some simple exercises (eg jog on the spot) while waiting for the kettle to boil or for food to cook in the microwave.
To achieve extra health benefits, or to increase fitness, you will also need to add regular vigorous activity to your routine on three or four days a week, for a minimum of around 30 minutes. Vigorous activity will make you “huff and puff” (e.g. where talking in full sentences between breaths is difficult), and includes activities such as squash, football, aerobics, circuit training, speed walking, jogging, fast cycling or brisk rowing. This type of activity will also help to maintain a healthy weight.
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