Fitness Assessment – Test Your Fitness Level
If you’re planning on starting a new workout regime, it’s strongly advised that you assess your fitness level before launching into a fitness program. Overestimating your fitness can lead you to serious injury or illness, while underestimating your fitness can slow down your progression. However it’s much better to underestimate than overestimate your fitness.
There are some basic things you can do to get an idea of how fit you are and what sort of exercises you should start doing. Here are three great ways to get a picture of just where you are now.
Your overall fitness can be categorised into five different factors:
cardio respiratory endurance
To be physically fit, it’s good to aim for fitness in all elements. Here are some easy ways to check your fitness level:
1. Weigh yourself
Your weight can give you some idea of how healthy –or unhealthy – you are. There are health risks associated with being overweight and underweight. If you find you are not in the “normal” range for your height, then you should immediately take steps to reach a healthier weight. Be sure to weigh yourself regularly. This can help keep your fitness program on track and give you something to aim for every week.
2. Measure your Body Mass Index
Your BMI measures your weight against your height to calculate how much body fat you have. To measure your BMI multiply your weight (in kilograms) by the square of your height (in metres). Anywhere between 20 and 25 is considered normal. Anything above 40 is considered obese.
3. Measure your heart rate
Your resting heart rate can give you an idea of how fit you are. Generally speaking, a slower resting heart rate signifies a fitter person. As you get fitter, your heart gets stronger and more efficient and does not need as many beats to oxygenate your blood.
A push-up test is a great way to test your muscle strength and endurance. How many can you do? With your back straight and your arms on the ground, and without any bent knees, lower your body down and then push up again.
The push-up test suggests you do as many as you can in one minute. Results vary depending on your age and sex. For men aged between 20-29 an average amount of push-ups in a minute is 35-54, and between 30-39 it is 24-44. For women an average amount for 20-29 is 17-33 and for 30-39 is 12-24. Check out Spark People’s fitness resources for a full range of ages.
5. Sit & Reach
Can you touch your toes? This is a simple flexibility test that you can do at home. This test will allow you to see how limber you hamstrings and lower back are. All you will need is a step and a ruler. Remember to warm up before performing the test to loosen up your muscles.
Sit with your legs extended and feet against the step. With one hand on top of the other, reach forward as far as you can and measure with the ruler from the base of your foot the length of your reach. A good score for men is +6 to +16 cm, for women a good score is +11 to +20. Check out top end sports fitness testing resources for a full table of measurements.
If you are unsure about the potential health risks associated with your workout regime, get a medical clearance before starting your training.