Just How Fit Are You?
- 8 Minutes Read
You might know your weight, but do you know how fit you are? Take these simple tests to see where you rank and how far you have improved over time.
Chances are that you already step on the scale to monitor weight loss, or you bring out those favorite pair of "skinny jeans" to slip on once in awhile to see how they feel. But what about what's on the inside? Our fitness levels aren't always obvious to others, or ourselves, but they should be tracked as well.
Essentially, if you are you ready to start a fitness routine or boost your current workout regimen, now might be the perfect time to assess just how fit you are so you can see how far you advance in the coming months. Ideally, one would take these tests about every three months to evaluate one's fitness progress. When taking these tests, it is important to control as many variables as you can, such as getting proper sleep the night before and eating no sooner than one hour prior to the tests.
Pushups are a multi-muscle exercise that engages the core and upper body. One of the most effective ways to measure your pushup strength is to record how many you can do without resting (or modifying between a full pushups and modified pushup). This is often called the "fatigue" model. While this is not a timed test, if you can do pushups for a full minute, here's a handy age-adjusted chart for comparison, based on metrics provided by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
|Excellent||> 54||> 44||> 39||> 34||> 29|
|Very Poor||< 20||< 15||< 12||< 8||< 5|
|Very Poor||< 6||< 4||< 3||< 2||< 1|
Your Recovery Pulse Index is an important indicator of your overall fitness level. The goal here is to increase your Index number, as the stronger one's heart is the faster it recovers from stress. To obtain this number, find and record your resting heart rate (counting your heart rate for six seconds and multiplying by 10 provide the beats-per-minute). Next, run as hard as you can on a treadmill for five minutes. After you have finished running, immediately take your pulse and record the results. Wait one minute and find and record your heart rate again. Subtract this second number from the number recorded immediately after exercising. This number is your Recovery Pulse Index. One is in good shape if the second count is at least 30 beats-per-minute slower than the first. The YMCA has published these age-adjusted guidelines for the Recovery Pulse Index:
To measure leg strength, core strength, and flexibility, stand with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart and sit back into a squat. Squat as low as you can (never letting your knees extend beyond your toes), and have a friend measure the distance between your glutes and the floor. Over time, attempt to decrease this number.
To measure the strength and endurance in your abdominal muscles, the "Crunch Test" can't be beat. The goal is simple: do as many crunches as you can in one minute. To do a proper crunch, keep your hands on the floor throughout the test. Engage your abs to lift your head and shoulders away from the floor and crunch so that your fingers slide at least six inches from their starting position. It may be helpful to place a six inch marker beside you and only count the crunches when you hit the marker. Have a friend help you determine a successful crunch. You can rest, but the timer never stops. The ACSM has published these age-adjusted guidelines for crunches:
|< 35 years||35-44 years||> 45 years|
|< 35 years||35-44 years||> 45 years|
So how did you do? What needs improvement? You can record these measurements in your food journal notes and check back on them each time you take the test. Good luck!Exercise->Health