How Fit Are You, Really?
Just because you were once very active, doesn’t mean that you’re fit. Being active isn’t even a guarantee that you’ll be physically fit. Physical fitness is defined as having good physical conditioning, enough energy to do basic daily chores without getting exhausted and still have some energy left for any emergency tasks.
I’m sure you probably have an idea how fit you are, but knowing the specifics can help you set achievable fitness goals. Once you know your fitness status, it’s easier to plan where you want to go in your fitness journey.
Fitness can be assessed in 5 ways listed below:
- Cardiorespiratory Endurance (Aerobic Fitness) – This is how well the body uses oxygen to produce energy for muscular activities. To test this, take a brisk walk anywhere. Record your pulse before and after the walk. When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 60 seconds to get your heart rate per minute. Then walk one mile and record your time as well as your pulse for the final reading.
- Muscular Strength and Endurance – this is the greatest amount of force a muscle can exert in a single effort; and the ability of a muscle to do repeated actions with sub-maximal force for extended periods of times. Pushups are great for measuring muscular strength and endurance. If you’re a newbie, do knee pushups. If you’re fit, do the classic version from a plank position. For both types: Count each time you return to the starting position as one pushup. Do as many pushups as you can until you need to stop for rest. Record the number of pushups you complete in your notebook or journal.
- The Sit-and-Reach test is a simple way to measure in general fashion the flexibility of the backs of your legs, your hips and your lower back.
- Place a yardstick on the floor. Secure it by placing a piece of tape across the yardstick at the 15-inch (38-centimeter) mark.
- Place the soles of your feet about even with the mark on the yardstick.
- Slowly reach forward as far as you can, holding the position briefly.
- Note the distance you reached.
- Repeat the test two more times.
- Record the best of the three reaches.
- Body composition – the percentage of body fat to its total body mass of a person.
With a cloth measuring tape, measure your waist circumference just above the hipbones. Record your waist circumference in inches or centimeters in your notebook or journal.
Then determine your Body Mass Index (BMI) — an indicator of your percentage of body fat — through a BMI table or online calculator.
If you’d rather do the math yourself, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared and multiply by 703. Or divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. (To determine your height in meters, divide your height in centimeters by 100).
Record your BMI with the rest of your scores in your notebook or journal.
Monitor your progress
Now that you know your fitness level, keep track of your progress. Take the same measurements about six weeks after you begin your exercise program and periodically afterward.
Each time you repeat your assessment, celebrate your progress and adjust your fitness goals accordingly. Share your results with your personal trainer for additional guidance.