When it comes to looking after your health, there are a few baseline numbers everyone should know about their body and how it should be running.
Our bodies are complex things and as we age they seem to become more intriguing and often more complicated, too.
While there can be a lot to keep track of, knowing a few basic statistics will help you keep things in check and running as smoothly as possible.
A normal resting heart rate for an adult is between 60-100 beats per minute. The fitter you are, the lower your heart rate will be. Some professional athletes will have a resting heart rate of just 40 beats per minute at the height of their fitness, but for most regular folk, the targeted resting heart rate for men and woman aged 65 is 78-132 beats per minute.
The Australian Heart Foundations recommends a blood pressure reading under 120/80mmHg as optimal. Readings over 120/80mmHg and up to 139/89mmHg are in the normal to high normal range. There are a few uncontrollable issues that can affect your blood pressure, such as age, menopause and race. As we age our blood pressure tends to rise, with men over 55 more likely to have high blood pressure along with post-menopausal women.
If your blood pressure is heading into a zone that is too high or too low, your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes, medication or both. Since our blood pressure can be an indicator of how likely we are to suffer a heart attack, a stroke or even faint, it’s important to know your safe zone.
When it comes to cholesterol, there are two names you need to know: LDL-C and HDL-C. The first is low density lipoproteins, while the second is high density lipoproteins. HDL-C is known as good cholesterol because it helps prevent cholesterol from building up in the arteries. While your cholesterol is largely affected by diet, weight, smoking and physical activity, Chief Medical Advisor at the Heart Foundation and cardiologist Garry Jennings told Starts at 60 there are uncontrollable lifestyle factors that also affect it.
“As you get older, your cholesterol levels rise,” he said. “Before menopause, women have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After menopause, women’s LDL levels tend to rise.”
Dr Jennings says the best way to manage your cholesterol is through diet and exercise, but in some cases medication will be needed to get your levels under control.
Body Mass Index
The Body Mass Index (BMI) test was long considered a reliable source into whether or not a person was within a healthy weight range. However, over the past few years, experts have conceded that more details, like age, race and waist circumference, are needed to truly determine whether or not you’re weight is affecting your health. Your BMI is still handy to give you a rough guide of how your health is tracking and can help your doctor prescribe the right care for you.
Your can calculate your BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared. Generally speaking, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy; a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight; a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.