One of the most headline-grabbing topics of the last few years has been the global obesity epidemic. The importance of exercising more and eating better has been emphasized time and again by experts in hopes of improving health across the board. It is no wonder that fitness trackers have seen such a surge in popularity. These devices educate and empower individuals to take action to improve their health.
While there are no silver bullets or magic pills, fitness trackers can assist in increasing health outcomes related to things like weight and sleep. Users can employ these tools to track rest, nutrition, exercise and everyday activity. The problem: these various constructs don’t mean a lot when they stand alone. For instance, maybe you logged three miles of running today, but you also ate a large pizza and got only three hours of sleep. Despite having exercised, your bigger picture is not one of perfect health.
Under Armour’s new HealthBoxTM solves that problem with a fully integrated system of devices that communicate with one another. A smart scale, fitness band and heart-rate monitor work in conjunction to provide that big picture. Even still, understanding what the health data actually mean can be confusing. But, when you effectively interpret the numbers and information these devices offer, you have a better chance at figuring out a plan of attack when it comes to improving your overall health.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HEALTHBOX: Your Connected Fitness System
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, boost fitness or simply feel better in your everyday life, these are the six measures you should study to help facilitate improved health:
MORE INFO: Why You Should Track Weight
2. Fat Mass
Determining your fat mass is important because it helps add context to the amount you weigh. Fat takes up four times the amount of space that muscle tissue occupies, so you could conceivably stay at the same weight but get smaller as you lose fat and gain muscle. Conversely, dramatic weight loss not accompanied by muscle gain can leave something to be desired in terms of your overall health. Muscle can help increase your metabolism, so swapping fat for muscle — even if the number of the scale remains steady — will make you healthier. By figuring out your body-fat percentage, you get a more complete image of your body composition. This will help you better analyze weight gain or loss.
The body mass index measurement takes into account your weight in relation to your height. To calculate your BMI, plug your current weight and height into a calculator so you can determine whether you fall into a healthy weight range. In general, a higher BMI often indicates higher body fat, which has been linked to a wide range of negative health outcomes and chronic diseases. A BMI of under 18.5 means you’re underweight, 18.5–24.9 puts you in the normal range, 25–29.9 means you’re overweight, 30 is considered obese and 40 is morbidly obese. Similar to your overall weight, BMI doesn’t differentiate between fat and lean tissue, so while these numbers are important, they are just one piece of the puzzle.
MORE INFO: Why You Should Track Steps
MORE INFO: Why You Should Track Sleep
6. Heart Rate