The Irish mathematical physicist, 1st Baron Kelvin (William Thomson), is credited with saying, “If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” You must understand what you are measuring. If it can’t be expressed in numbers, then you don’t know it.
In his 1954 book, The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker tells us that ‘what gets measured, gets managed.’ There are many variations on this theme of measurement credited to other professionals and strategists. “What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get managed.” What gets measured gets done.” “To measure is to know.”
Regular measurement and reporting keep you focused. You make decisions based on the results you track and measure. Many of us have made New Year’s Resolutions. Some resolutions address weight loss. That is a reasonably easy thing to measure and track.
But what if your objective in 2020 is to improve your health? What do you measure?
If you want to improve your health, it should be simple, easy, and cheap. You wouldn’t measure and track your health metrics if they were more complicated and expensive.
Most of us look at our weight more often than we should. Is weight a good indicator of health? Not really! You can be thin and sick or overweight and healthy. What about the diabetics? They measure blood sugar. Yes, because they must. It could be life-threatening if they don’t. But what else is measured?
The number of times you went to the gym is a simple, easy, and cheap measurement. You might keep track of the number of minutes jogging (or with some other sport). Exercise is required for excellent health and longevity, but is it representative of health? I think, partially.
The number of minutes in meditation might be a good measurement of health. We acquire stress daily. Meditation is an excellent method to reduce stress, as is exercise.
Some people count calories. It might seem healthy; but, you need nutritional balance for good health. Nutritional balance with caloric restriction improves longevity and reduces the risk of age-related diseases.
Some people avoid certain types of foods by choice – vegans, paleo, etc. Is a particular lifestyle more healthy than another? We haven’t seen the long-term effects of the various lifestyles people adapt to make a good decision yet. It is more difficult to obtain all the nutritional balance from plants alone and requires constant vigilance to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients you need daily.
Some people measure their blood pressure. This is a proper measurement of cardiac health, but it doesn’t guarantee healthy cardiovascular wellness. With a plethora of things to measure, what makes the most sense?
Almost every disease begins at the cellular level with chronic low-level inflammation. Counter the inflammation, and you halt the initiation of disease. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which cause cellular inflammation. Most antioxidants are contained in fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables make your body alkaline. Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats make your body acidic.
Oxygen kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi on contact. Alkalinity promotes more dissolved oxygen than acidity. Measure your body’s pH, and you get an excellent measure of the alkalinity of your body. This one measurement, I believe, is a reliable indicator of excellent health. It is cheap. It is easy. I can be done as often as you want.
pH paper can be obtained at health food stores. It measures the alkalinity of your urine or saliva. I use pH paper to measure my saliva before going to bed and again when I awaken. When I am eating correctly, I consistently see reading above 7.4 when I go to bed and above 7.0 when I rise. During the day, my pH can rise to 7.6 or higher.
I know my alkaline body is responding well to the foods I chose to eat, and adding deep breathing exercises, infuses more oxygen into my organs and tissues.
How do you know if your health is improving if you do not measure certain aspects of your health? Your focus will wane if there is nothing to measure. Green Bay Packers former head coach, Vince Lombardi, is credited with saying, “Hope is not a strategy.” Hoping for improved health is not a worthy strategy. What you measure you can control!