So you went to the gym at least a handful of times in the past six months, had your annual physical, and generally speaking, you're feeling pretty good about your self health. But, as it turns out, you might not be as healthy as you think. According to a recent study from the Mayo Clinic, only 2.7 percent of Americans are considered "healthy," by its standards. Uh, yikes.
Researchers looked at a group of 5,000 American men and women and assessed their overall healthiness based on factors like whether or not they smoked, got at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, and ate enough fruits and veggies. Only a measly 2.7 percent made the cut. For the rest, it was goodbye worry-free lifestyles, and hello increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
For most of us who haven't been invited to participate in such a depressing study, it can be hard to know if we're really on the right track to healthy living. Thankfully, there are a few ways to tell from the comfort of your living room. Of course, just because you don't pass one or more of these tests doesn't mean you're unhealthy — there are a lot more complex factors that determine your overall health that are way more important than these simple activities, and only a doctor can tell you if your health is truly at risk. But, in case you are curious, here are five easy health tests you can complete in five minutes or less. You won't even need to step away from whatever show you are watching at the moment for these simple tricks.
1. You Can Lug Your Groceries Around
You should be able to carry a few shopping bags from the grocery store to the subway station — or at least to your car that's right in the parking lot. A lap around your apartment also works as a test.
2. You Can Sit Down and Stand Up Without Using Your Hands, Arms, or Knees
This one is pretty simple: just sit on the floor from a standing position without using your hands, arms, or knees for support. Then stand right back up, again without support. This test says a lot about your musculoskeletal fitness which, apparently, is pretty important. Think: body flexibility, muscle strength, and coordination.
3. You Can Stand For Five Minutes Without Shifting Your Weight
Most of us spend a big chunk of our lives sitting down and hunched over at our laptops, which tends to give us tight hips. If you can stand for a few minutes without shifting your weight from side to side and without any lower back pain, you're one of the lucky ones.
4. You Can Wake Up Without an Alarm Clock
Quick — did you wake up before your alarm clock this morning, or did you hit snooze 17 times? If you can wake up without the help of a loud ringing most mornings, then you're well rested. And we've all heard over and over again how important getting enough sleep is for your mental and physical health.
5. You Have A Low Resting Heart Rate
For most of us, a healthy resting heart rate is between 60 to 80 bpm (beats per minute). The lower the resting heart rate, the stronger your cardiovascular fitness is.
The only true way to make sure that your amazing bod is working the way it should be is to see a doctor. So, make sure to schedule those yearly checkups, just to double check that everything is running smoothly. Peace of mind is a sign of good health, too.