Men's Health: 12 Signs You Are Healthy

ByABC News
September 27, 2000, 2:55 PM

Sept. 29 -- Ask a man if hes healthy, and hell say, Sure.

And hell say it even if theres blood coming out of both ears. Thats because most men have a very general definition of health: If you can get up in the morning and make it to work, then you must be healthy. And if you can get home from work without collapsing well, then you must be really healthy!

We asked a dozen physicians to define exactly what it means to be in excellent health, and they gave us the checklist that you need to complete before boasting about your super fitness. If you can check off at least eight of these 12 qualities, then youre more than a good guy youre a physical specimen possessing rare genetic gifts. We may have you stuffed for posterity.

You Have Extremely High Cholesterol About 356,000 men die of heart disease every year twice the tally killed by cancer. But if you have an HDL (high-density lipoprotein the good stuff) count of 90 mg/dl or more, you have very little worry of developing heart disease or arteriosclerosis, says Dr. E. Randy Eckert, a pathologist and medical director at North Austin Medical Center in Texas. You have an ample supply of HDL to keep your arteries clean, so you should never develop significant blockages. Research bears this out: A study that followed 8,586 Israeli men for 21 years found that those with the highest HDL cholesterol levels were least likely to die of strokes.

To increase your HDL cholesterol levels, you need to exercise at a moderate intensity for about 20 minutes at least four times a week, and drop at least 5 pounds from your gut.

You Have an Athlete's Heart Your heart will beat a fixed number of times before it shuts down. So you dont blow your quota by age 50, you need to keep your resting heart rate below 60 beats per minute, says Dr. Thomas Graboys, a cardiologist at the Harvard medical school. Find your resting rate by taking your pulse in the morning while youre still in bed; multiply the beats in 15 seconds by four.

Exercising at moderate intensities for long periods will lower your resting heart rate over time, explains the appropriately named Dale Huff, of the American College of Exercise. The weekly prescription: at least four 40-minute aerobic workouts. To maintain an effective workout pace keep varying your intensity. For example, run, bike, or row slowly for 3 minutes, then go all out for 1 minute. Keep repeating this cycle until youve gone completely nuts.