7 quick tests to measure your health in an instant at home
When you're sitting still and relaxed, count how many breaths you take per minute. Fifteen breaths or fewer? Your lungs are working well. More than 25? You need to improve their function with regular cardio exercise.
Check out the Expert clinic: weights vs cardio
Stand with your right arm straight up in the air, now bend your elbow so that your hand hangs behind you. Reach your left arm up behind your back and try to touch your hands together. Repeat on the other side. If you can grasp your hands, you're very supple. Touching fingers is the next best thing. (Practising this will improve your flexibility.) It's common for one side to be more supple.
Increase your flexibility with Pilates
Count backwards from 100 in sevens, getting as low as you can without stopping. Getting as low as 65 is considered a good score. To keep your brain sharp, try to complete a daily sudoku puzzle or a crossword.
Boost your brainpower with these nine mind-improving foods
● Ask a friend to hold a ruler at the 30cm end, pointing it downwards.
● Hold your thumb and index finger open, level with the zero mark.
● With a few seconds warning, get you friend to drop the ruler.
● Record the measurement above your finger where you catch the ruler. Under 5cm is excellent; under 10cm is average. Between 10cm and 29cm is slow - are you getting enough exercise and rest? Didn't catch it? You could be low in potassium and need to do more exercise.
Eat pomegranate to boost your potassium levels
The fitter you get, the more efficient your heart becomes, pumping more blood with each heartbeat, and slowing your heart rate down. First thing in the morning, before getting up, check your resting heart rate (RHR) for a minute by resting two fingers on your wrist.
● 50bpm and below You're extremely healthy and fit.
● 50bpm to 60bpm Fit people usually have a resting pulse below 60, so you're doing well.
● 60bpm+ 50bpm to 100bpm is normal and 75bpm is average for women. Aim to lower it with exercise. Your RHR may be elevated during your period, after consuming too much food or alcohol, or if your body hasn't recovered from training.
Three ways to keep your heart in good health
The secret lies in your waist measurement - the bigger it is, the higher your risk.
● Less than 80cm Your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is normal.
● Between 80cm and 88cm Your risk is elevated.
● Higher than 88cm You are in the high-risk category. Time to cut down on fatty foods and sugar, and get more exercise.
Find out why we should all be eating less sugar
Believe it or not, your peepers provide a good indication of your cholesterol levels and consequent risk of heart disease. Look at the irises of your eyes in a mirror - is there a white line around the outside of them? If so, this can be a sign of high cholesterol. Get a blood test and make sure your diet is rich in cholesterol-lowering fruit, veg and oats.
A weekend of recipes to help lower your cholesterol
Like us on facebook
Follow us on twitter
Other Hearst Magazines UK sites