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What's Your Body Mass Index (BMI)?
One way to know if you are at a healthy weight is to determine your BMI. BMI is a way to estimate your excess weight and risk of disease. The formula is: weight (lbs.) / [height (in.)]2 x 703 . That is, divide weight in pounds (lbs.) by height in inches (in.) squared and multiply by a conversion factor of 703. Here's an example:
Weight = 150 lbs.
Height = 5'5" (65")
Calculation: [150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 24.96
If math isn't your thing, check these sites for an automatic calculator and more information.
An important point about BMI is that it can overestimate body fat and poor health in individuals who are muscular. For example, a 5'10", 210-pound individual with 10% body fat is not obese but would be considered so by the BMI charts. The authors of the BMI formula readily admit this error, but for the majority of Americans who are not lean and muscular, BMI is a good estimator of body fat and increased health risk...just not for every person. Another way to estimate your health risk is your waist circumference across your belly button. Women should be less than 35 inches and men less than 40 inches. Some scientists believe that waist circumference is more important than BMI for assessing health risk, and so I recommend that you take your waist circumference as an accurate health-risk indicator.
Videos can be very helpful. If you're busy and can't get to a gym, then a video at home is great. It's guided, the music is great, and it's fun. There are so many videos now that you have your choice of type and level of fitness. You can choose from beginning yoga, advanced tai chi, weight lifting, exercise for moms with their kids, or exercises in a chair. The sky's the limit. Check out Collage Video (http://www.CollageVideo.com) for tapes or DVDs that would work for you. If you need exercises sitting down, consider chair exercises from Armchair Fitness (http://www.ArmchairFitness.com).
The opportunities to exercise are endless. Choose the one that appeals most to you, whether it's walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, weight lifting, or stretching. The main point is to do something. The benefits happen quickly. The first step is to get started.
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