Do you underestimate or overestimate yourself? Most of us belong to either of the two categories and there might be a handful of those whose judgement about their very own performance are true to the dot. A classic example is that of exam scores. Ask a student how well he/she has performed and here again, its either inclined towards underperformance or maximized performance assumption. Assumptions have become an integral part of every human. These assumptions are what also lead mankind its distraught situations, manhandling of resources, difference in opinions and classic cases of misunderstandings. When we are clear on our views, speak with genuine evidence or results in hand and don’t try to manipulate things that are not straightforward life becomes simpler and easier to live.
The Fitness Trio
Observational studies and questionnaires bring out what you and I think without solid evidences or results backing these theories. Coming to conclusions based on these theories are not the basis of a great outcome. When you ask someone about his/her fitness levels they either categorize themselves as poor, medium or extremely fit. But what are the reasonings and conditions that induce this categorization remains a matter of concern. A study on how people report their fitness levels to the actual fitness levels measured by fitness trackers shows the reality of the situation.
An international team of scientists have discovered how physically active people assume themselves to be fit compared to how fit they are in reality with the help of fitness tracking devices. How about taking an American, a Brit and a Dutch individual for a walk together for study purpose? While it might sound impossible at least we are close to getting an answer to our questions on fitness. The international research team was shocked to realize that none of the participants were right in their assumption at the end of the study. As a part of the study the American replied that he was as fit as the Dutch or the Brit. This is somewhat equivalent to how older people consider themselves to be as active as the young. Neither are the Americans equally fit nor are the older people equally active. So, must we conclude that both the Americans and the older people are lying? Absolutely not! It’s the perception of the people that change. People in different places and of different age groups reply differently to the same questions. Environment, culture and society play an integral role in defining the perception of individuals. This is clearly proved by the difference in the living styles of people residing in different countries. The American is used to riding cars to work, for errands or elsewhere. Whereas, the Dutch relies on his/her cycle to reach office, do small jobs or even go by foot to get things done sometimes. Understand how even small steps taken to increase activity can lead to better fitness results by visiting www.firsteatright.com where clues on imparting smaller chores to increase health and time management are beautifully laid down.
We are well aware that even a few minutes of exercise per day can impact body weight and fitness levels greatly. So, when the Dutch does such chores on a daily basis and though these errands don’t strike him/her as a part of the daily fitness routine ultimately Dutch people remain healthier, fitter and better than the American.
A Small Insight on the Study
The study involved 540 participants from the United States, 748 participants from Netherlands and 254 from England. Participants were aged 18 years and above and were asked to measure their fitness levels on a five-point scale between inactive to very active. They were also asked to wear a fitness tracker in their hand to measure their activity level over a week. While the Brits and Dutch gauged themselves somewhere in the middle of the scale the Americans’ ratings were either of the two extremes- either very inactive or very active. The study clearly showed Americans to be less active than the Dutch and English. They were in fact twice as much as inactive than the Dutch participants. Older the participant likelier was their chances of remaining inactive. The study too showed that 60% of Americans were inactive, 42% of Dutch were inactive and only 32% of Brits were inactive.
In any given country those participants who either perceived themselves to be extremely inactive or extremely active showed maximum changes in the fitness tracker results.
With health and physical activity becoming an indispensable part of human life it is necessary to take caution and double check things relating to fitness before coming to conclusions. Also, rather than relying on an individual’s opinion it is better to confirm it with the use of devices or instruments that can measure fitness levels.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.