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Test Yourself For Fitness Level

Many of us equate fitness to having a modest weight. The elementary mentality is that overweight equals unhealthy, while thinner means healthy. While being in the normal range when it comes to weight is an indicator of fitness, it is not the end all and be all of being fit. A person can have an optimal body mass index but not be fit at all.
So how exactly can we determine how fit a person is? In addition to having a healthy body weight, a person’s fitness is also determined by his stamina, endurance, muscle strength, flexibility and body composition. There are simple ways to measure a person’s fitness without having to consult the doctor. You can actually assess your fitness level in the comfort of the home with a few tools that are already available to you.

Test #1: Brisk walking test. For this test, you will only need a stopwatch or your regular watch with a second hand on it. The activity is designed to assess your aerobic fitness—how your body responds to aerobic exercises. The first part is to walk briskly for a mile or 1.6 kilometers. You could do this anywhere—a treadmill is easiest since you could easily measure the distance—but walking around the neighborhood or even inside a shopping mall would do. After the brisk walk, measure your pulse rate for 10 seconds (around the wrist or neck) and multiply it by 6 to get the heart rate per minute.

After taking note of the rate, start walking normally for the same distance then take down the time it took for you to complete the walk, and again your pulse.

Test#2: Push-ups. Push-ups give you an idea of your muscle fitness. There are two ways to do the push-ups, one is the regular way which is for more fit individuals. This is where the tips of the feet and the palms are on the ground, like how the military does it. An easier version is for those who are just starting to work out, which makes use of the knees as support.

With your knees touching the ground, put your hands palm down on the ground, shoulder width apart. Slowly bring your upper body down until your chest is almost a floor level or at a plank position. Every time you come back up to the starting position, you can count that as one push up. Continue doing this until you need to stop. Record the results.

Test#3: Sit and Reach. This activity will assess your basic flexibility especially around the hips, legs and lower back. Take a yardstick and tape it to the floor. Put a mark on 15 inches or 38 cm. Sit on the floor with your legs extended. The end of your feet should be level with the 15-inch mark on the yardstick. Your legs will have the tendency to buckle if you’re not very flexible so you can ask the help of someone to hold your knees down for you. Reach your arms forward as far as you can and hold the position for 2 seconds. Record how far along in the yardstick you reached and write this down, repeat the activity two more times and pick the best number.

Test#4: Body composition. This test will determine your body circumference and your body mass index (which indicates the percentage of fat in your body). Take a tape measure (used in sewing) and place it around your waist, just above the hips, to determine the waistline. To measure your BMI, measure your weight in pounds and take note of your height. There are many BMI calculators available online which can determine what your BMI is for you, and from there you can see whether you fall in the normal, underweight or overweight range.

Now you have an indicator of what your fitness level is. Engage yourself in some exercise and repeat the tests after six weeks. Recording everything down can help your monitor your progress and will help you adjust your fitness goals and exercise regimen accordingly.