How to Tell If You’re in Shape, Even if Your Workouts Have Slipped

After hitting the snooze button on your morning gym session one too many times, it can be easy to feel like you’re failing in the fitness department. But before you worry that you’ve destroyed all your hard work, remember that fitness is about more than just nailing your burpee form or squatting until you drop. Read on for six signs that you’re in better shape than you think.

1. You can lift grocery bags from the car to the house without huffing and puffing.

If you can carry all the bags from your weekly trip to the grocery store from the car to the kitchen counter without getting out of breath, it’s a sign of both your cardiovascular fitness and your upper body and core strength (it takes serious muscle to lift a week’s worth of vegetables!)

2. You get up frequently during the day.

If you’re taking frequent breaks at your job to stretch and walk around, you’re on track to improve your health and prevent serious illness and premature death, according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Those walking breaks can also count toward the 150 minutes of aerobic exercise recommended by the Mayo Clinic.

3. You take the stairs.

If you consistently choose the stairs over the elevator, you’re sneaking some essential physical activity into your day. Stair climbing can count towards the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, and climbing two flights of stairs per day can lead to weight loss of up to 6 pounds per year.

Want to make a workout of it? Try our Sweatfest Cardio Stair Workout:

4. Your blood pressure and cholesterol are on point.

While many factors can affect blood pressure and cholesterol, if your numbers for both of these health statistics are in the normal range, chances are that you’re probably in pretty good shape. Being active lowers your systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading), allowing your heart to bump more blood with less effort. Exercising also increases the levels of LDL, or good cholesterol, in the body, helping prevent a build-up of HDL, the bad cholesterol.

5. You own a dog.

If you own a dog, chances are you’re much closer to your daily step count than the average person. Dog owners are 34% more likely to reach their fitness goals. This is because dogs need frequent walking, meaning that at least once a day, you’re getting some steps in while you take the pooch out. This counts toward your weekly aerobic exercise goal, and also helps you stay active after work on days when you’ve been chained to a desk and are feeling drained.

6. You’re happy.

If you find yourself generally feeling content and happy, there’s a good chance you’re physically fit. Physically active people have been found to be happier than their less active counterparts. Exercise can give you a boost in pleasurable feelings like excitement and enthusiasm, staving off stress and keeping you smiling.

Article by Emily Keyes. Follow her here.